(Updates with more executive comment)
SANTIAGO, April 9 Top copper mining executives
have flocked to Santiago, Chile to discuss the state of the
industry as concerns about oversupply and a credit crisis in
China, the world's No. 1 industrial metal user, weigh on prices
The following are some of their comments at the Cesco/CRU
DIEGO HERNANDEZ, ANTOFAGASTA PLC CHIEF EXECUTIVE
On mining challenges in Chile:
"Chile has lost ground in terms of competitiveness. We need
to tackle these challenges to efficiently recover our ranking.
Here's a list of challenges we need to take on: The
portfolio of mining projects needs certainty in terms of mining
permits; legal gaps need to be filled; decisions need to be made
about (funding) Codelco's big projects.
In terms of competition, we need to guarantee the
availability of water and energy at competitive prices. It's a
big list of challenges that we need to take on together. That's
our big challenge."
On Chinese growth:
"We think the Chinese economy is fairly solid, it may have
some problems, but they're minor. We don't see any reason for
there to be a big crisis in China."
HENNIE FAUL, ANGLO AMERICAN CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
On Chinese demand and copper prices:
"There's some uncertainty. We certainly believe that's
short-term. The fundamentals for copper are there. The growth in
China has been a bit bumpy, but again we believe this is
We firmly believe in the long term for copper. Short-term,
we believe (the price) is going to stay in the current ranges
it's currently trading in. We see slight surpluses but nothing
that will totally disrupt the market."
On company guidance of full-year output of 700,000-720,000
"For the first three months () we've really had good
results, both from Los Bronces and Collahuasi, but there are
some headwinds we are still fighting.
The high grade we're getting now will be offset by lower
grade (later). We still have at Collahuasi these lower grades
towards the end of the year, but we will guide the market in the
next three months.
If Collahuasi comes totally out of its stabilization phase
we could be changing that outlook but we're not comfortable to
do that at the moment. We're also approaching winter 700 to
720 (thousand tonnes) is still our guidance."
LONDON METAL EXCHANGE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, GARRY JONES
On ring trading:
"We are doing a full review of the ring in consultation with
all the players just to validate that that is the reference
price that people want to trade against.
(Ring trading) is about as transparent as you can get. So
although regulations have not been designed around the market,
it does check a lot of the boxes, which is not to say we should
keep it the way it is, because at the end of the day it is
important that it meets the requirements of everybody."
RIO TINTO CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF COPPER
On the decision on Monday to give away its stake in Northern
Dynasty Minerals Ltd, owner of Alaska's huge Pebble deposit:
"We looked at all options and concluded that although we
remain absolutely committed to Alaska, although we acknowledged
there is value in these deposits it does not fit with Rio
Tinto's strategy today."
CODELCO CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER THOMAS KELLER
On ramp up at Ministro Hales mine, one of copper powerhouse
Chile's few new deposits in recent years:
"Ramp up is in full swing. The concentrator is virtually
producing at design capacity. We think that if everything
continues to go well the entire process can reach design
capacity towards the end of this quarter.
The roaster of course has had some of the issues inherent to
a ramp-up, but these are absolutely normal and to be expected."
On 2014 output forecast:
"We (promised) production levels somewhat higher to those
clocked in 2013 and we're on a good track to meet that goal.
We're projecting more production than last year, including
if we exclude operations where we have a minority stake."
(Compiled by Josephine Mason in New York; Reporting by
Alexandra Ulmer and Susan Thomas; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and