* Ores, maintenance boost world No.1 copper mine's output
* Copper output in 2012 reaches 1.076 mln T
* Production jumps vs strike-hit 2011
SANTIAGO, Feb 5 Output from Chile's Escondida
jumped 31.6 percent in 2012 from a year earlier, state copper
commission Cochilco said on Tuesday, as processing work and
higher ore grades boosted production in the world's largest
Output from the world's largest copper mine, Chile's
Escondida, jumped 31.6 percent in 2012 from a year earlier,
state copper commission Cochilco said on Tuesday, boosted by
processing work and higher ore grades,
Escondida, which is majority owned by global miner BHP
Billiton , produced roughly 1.076 million tonnes
of copper last year compared with 817,700 tonnes in strike-hit
Two "high return" projects intended to improve ore grades
and increase capacity were completed last year, according to a
BHP presentation on its website. The Escondida Ore Access
program was completed in the June 2012 quarter and the Laguna
Seca debottlenecking project ended in September.
The mine's union stunned the copper market in 2011 by
staging a two-week work stoppage, sending the mine's output
Workers at Escondida late last month approved a new contract
proposal, calming fears of labor unrest.
BHP said last month the mine was on track to increase its
red metal output by 20 percent in the 2013 financial year.
World No. 1 copper producer Chile is also on track to boost
output this year, as it seeks to put operational woes, dwindling
ore grades and labor stoppages behind it.
BHP and Rio Tinto , which owns 30 percent of
Escondida, have approved plans for a $4.5 billion expansion of
the mine to boost output.
Escondida produced 1.086 million tonnes of copper in 2010,
according to Cochilco.