Chile has the potential to increase its copper production by 20% over the next 10 years if its entire project pipeline is launched, Aurora Williams, Minister of Mining, has said recently, as reported in MinerAndina. In this way, Chile’s production could increase from the 5.5 Mt of copper produced in 2016 to 6.6 Mt by 2028, she added.
A 32% increase in the project portfolio this year, at $65 billion, is a sign of “moderate optimism” in the mining sector, she continued. Williams said investment in exploration has increased during this cycle of better prices and that there is a growing interest in exploration activity, which had been postponed by the fall in prices.
COCHILCO, the Chilean copper government agency, predicted in July that copper prices would average $2.64/lb in 2017, compared with a forecast of $2.40 at the beginning of the year. Williams said higher demand from China and the electric vehicle industry will be key determinants of copper demand.
During the super-cycle there was a drop in productivity and an increase in costs, the minister said, adding that it is not expected that higher prices will lead to this situation again. “The next phase should focus on innovation and the introduction of new technologies,” she said.