SANTIAGO, March 28 The world's No. 1 copper
producer, Chile's Codelco, said on Thursday its 2012
output skid 5.1 percent to 1.647 million tonnes, excluding
production from its stakes in the Anglo Sur and El Abra mines,
due to dwindling performance at its ageing mines.
Lower ore grades, harder rocks and deeper deposits crimped
output last year, the state-run miner said. But Codelco added
that profits before tax and extraordinary items jumped 7 percent
in 2012 to $7.518 billion.
Codelco has said it expects to produce more this year than
last, as the new Ministro Hales mine comes on line.