SANTIAGO – Chile's copper production could jump by nearly 30% over the next ten years, Chile’s state copper agency Cochilco said on Monday.
Cochilco said in a report that output from Chile, the world's top producer of the red metal, could reach a record of 7.25-million tonnes as early as 2025.
The state copper agency said in the report that it believes production by existing, aging mines will decrease by 19%, to 4.46-million tonnes per year, but that the decline would be offset by several new projects and expansions.
"The growth in production is only possible if the new investments materialize," Cochilco said in the report.
Several major new projects and expansions are planned in the coming years, as Chilean miners confront declining ore grades at sometimes century-old mines.
State-run miner and world top copper producer Codelco recently launched a $40-billion, 10-year investment plan to boost productivity at its Chilean mines.
Canadian miner Teck Resource is also moving forward with an expansion plan, known as QB2, which won regulatory approval in August.
The overhaul is expected to extend the ageing deposit's life by 25 years and substantially boost production to 300 000 tonnes of copper annually from 23 400 tonnes in 2017.
In addition to Codelco, Chile is home to global miners BHP Group, Anglo American, Glencore and Antofagasta.