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copper|project|projects|underground|operations

Chile sees Codelco revival after years of copper output declines

2nd April 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Codelco is turning the corner after a production slump and project overruns eroded the state-owned copper behemoth’s finances, according to a top Chilean government official.

“In 2024, the production of Codelco is going to increase for the first time in several years,” Finance Minister Mario Marcel said in a Thursday interview from his Santiago office, hours before the company is due to deliver its annual results and guidance.

Codelco is navigating one of its most challenging periods in its almost 50-year history after a series of setbacks at projects and mines. The company has been juggling four large investments at its aging operations after decades of underinvestment. New CEO Ruben Alvarado has shaken up management in a bid to bring late and over-budget projects onstream.

The Santiago-based company is starting a gradual recovery as underground operations at its Chuquicamata mine ramp up, Marcel said, adding the move will allow Codelco to improve its finances.

Under the current arrangement with the government, Codelco can reinvest 30% of its annual profits, with remaining funding having to come from bond issuance. Unlike private sector miners in Chile, it also hands over 10% of sales to the state.

There are no plans to add new funding mechanisms, given the 30% profit retention has only been in force for two years and Codelco’s prospects are improving, Marcel said.

“Any additional decisions would depend on new projects that the company develops,” he said.

Edited by Bloomberg

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