* Vale sees copper prices remaining strong
* World No.1 steel producer looking to copper
* China demand seen underpinning copper price
SANTIAGO, April 5 Copper prices could return to
more than $10,000 per tonne this year, driven by Chinese
growth, the head of Brazilian miner Vale's copper division said
on Tuesday at the CRU world copper conference in Santiago.
World No.1 steel producer Vale (VALE.N) (VALE5.SA) has
identified copper and fertilizers as key areas for the
"The price of copper is high and I think it will stay that
way. We see that some mines are running out and demand will
grow with the Chinese economy, so there could be another rise,"
Paulo Henrique de Godoy told Reuters.
"We might see prices rise again above $10,000 (per tonne),"
Spot copper CMCU3 rose to a historic high of $10,190 per
tonne in mid-February on tight supply and an outlook for strong
Chinese demand despite attempts to avoid overheating.
Since then inflation expectations have raised concerns
about global economic growth and hurt commodity prices, but
copper has recovered to close on Tuesday with a 0.4 percent
gain to $9,390 per tonne.
Vale has copper deposits and operations in Brazil, Chile,
Canada, Angola, Congo, Zambia and Kazakhstan and expects to
produce 332,000 tonnes of copper in 2011.
(Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta; Writing by Brad Haynes;
Editing by David Gregorio)