Blackout hits northern Chile, unclear if copper mines affected

SANTIAGO Wed Jul 2, 2014 2:34pm EDT

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's northern regions were hit by a power outage on Wednesday, the nation's emergency office said, though it was not immediately clear if production at some of the area's massive copper mines was impacted.

The mineral-rich regions of Arica y Parinacota, Tarapaca and Antofagasta, all affected by the blackout, are home to some of the largest copper mines in Chile, the world's top producer of the red metal.

These include state-owned Codelco's [CODEL.UL] Chuquicamata, Gabriela Mistral and Radomiro Tomic mines, the massive Escondida mine, run by global miner BHP Billiton, and the Collahuasi mine, a partnership between Glencore Xstrata Plc and Anglo American Plc.

Sources close to the companies said that mines had backup generators allowing for the most critical parts of operations to continue, though not all.

Representatives for the companies were not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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