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Chilean copper commission calls for increased mining exploration

Chile’s Cochilco state copper commission called for greater mining exploration in the Andean nation to keep the sector booming despite high production costs.

In a meeting with foreign correspondents, Chochilco’s executive vice president, Andres Mac-Lean said “without good deposits, we’ll lose competiveness over the long term.”

Some $20 billion annually is invested in mining exploration worldwide, with Chile – the world’s largest copper producer – accounting for 5 percent of the total, Mac-Lean said.

Mining companies operating in Chile invest some $700 million annually in copper exploration, or 15 percent of the global total.

Mac-Lean noted that Chile’s mining investment portfolio amounts to nearly $113 billion for the 2013-2021 period.

Even so, Mac-Lean said one of the main challenges facing Chilean mining is an increase in production costs, particularly higher prices of electricity to supply mines in the country’s north.

That situation could cause “uncertainty” among investors, he said, though he predicted that Chile’s stable business climate and outstanding geological potential would convince them to remain in the country.

In July, Cochilco lowered its copper price estimate for this year from $3.57 per pound to $3.27 per pound.





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