Reporting its production figures for the first half of 2020, Chile’s copper mining company (Codelco) said it produced 744,000 metric tons of fine copper, 4.7% more than in the same period of 2019, and generated surpluses of $380 million, a figure that is almost 20% higher than in the first six months of last year.
The company said early measures taken to protect the health of its miners allowed it to maintain operational continuity. Along with this, Codelco attributed the increase of 34,000 mt in production to greater treatment in the plants and the better grades.
“Strict protocols were put in place to prevent exposure and provide miners with all the sanitary conditions to protect their health and the health of their families. The second objective was to maintain operational continuity to generate surpluses for Chile. Because we know that, to get out of the economic crisis that this pandemic is causing, Codelco’s resources will be required,” said Codelco Executive President Octavio Araneda.
Direct costs, fell 9% to 129.9 cents a pound (c/lb), down 12.4 cents from 142.3 c / lb last year. This figure is explained by the greater operational continuity of the smelters, which improved the state’s product portfolio; the highest production; the increase in the sale of by-products, such as molybdenum; and, the positive effect of a higher dollar.
The net cost to cathode, meanwhile, had a significant decrease of 17% compared to the same period of the previous year, reaching 207.7 c/lb, which is explained by the same reasons of direct cost, which add to the lower non-operating expenses. In addition, last year’s C3 costs include the effects of collective bargaining for the period.
The good operational and cost management performance allowed Codelco to reach surpluses of US $ 380 million, almost 20% over the $318 million of the previous year, despite a greater burden due to the depreciation of the company’s assets. given the strong level of investments and the lower price of copper of 11.4%, which, affected by the health crisis, averaged in the period $2.48/lb, against $2.80/lb in the first half of 2019, that is, 32 cents less.
Codelco also reported that the projected start dates for its main development projects have not been affected, despite the temporary suspensions to minimize the risk of contagion on site. That includes Chuquicamata Subterránea, which reached a state of progress of 99% in the first of its three underground levels, and Nuevo Nivel Mina (Andes Norte, Diamante and Andesita), which advanced 61%. Meanwhile, the construction of Traspaso Andina, which completed 87%, had a total stoppage in April and was reactivated, with the gradual entry of provisions, between May and June.