Chile copper output falls in Dec., up 3 pct in 2012

SANTIAGO Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:18am EST

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SANTIAGO Jan 30 (Reuters) - Chile produced 513,344 tonnes of copper in December, a 1.8 percent slip from a year earlier, but boosted its red metal output by 3 percent to 5.455 million tonnes during all of 2012, the government said on Wednesday.

December output fell on lower ore grades and maintenance work in certain mines, the INE statistics agency added.

Annual output in world No. 1 copper producer Chile rose last year on better ore grades in some deposits, production increases in mines that began operating in 2011 and a low base of comparison with strike-hit 2011, the agency said.

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