Feb 28 Up to one-fifth of Chile's copper mine capacity was shut after the world's biggest producer was rocked by a huge earthquake on Saturday, but at least two mines in the quake-affected area resumed operations within 48 hours of the quake.
However, industry analysts still expect copper prices to rise because of potential disruption in power and transportation links to the mines. [ID:nSGE61R002]
The nation's oil refineries appeared to be at greater risk, with its largest plant located near the epicenter; two were forced to shut down for further investigation. [ID:nN27177467]
Following are details on the impact to energy and mining operations after the temblor that struck 70 miles (115 km) northeast of Concepcion and about 200 miles (320 km) south of Santiago. For a full story see: [ID:nN28187458]
For a map showing the epicenter, click here
State energy firm ENAP shut down both its 116,000 barrels per day (bpd) Bio Bio oil refinery, which is located just north of the city of Concepcion, as well as its roughly 100,000 bpd Aconcagua refinery near the capital.
Mining Minister Santiago Gonzalez told Reuters officials were trying to assess structural damage to Bio Bio. ENAP said it was increasing diesel imports to meet demand. It said it had sufficient gasoline stocks to last two weeks and diesel stocks for 10 days.
MAJOR COPPER MINES AND SMELTERS
With almost all major copper producers confirming their status after the quake, operations at mines producing more than 1 million tonnes a year -- near a fifth of the country's total 5.4 million tonnes last year -- were initially suspended by the quake, but they appeared undamaged.
Officials confirmed that the two biggest mines in the far north -- Escondida and Chuquicamata -- were unaffected, and a union leader said transport between Escondida and port facilities had not been disrupted.
State-run Codelco said its El Teniente complex was operating again on Sunday and that the Andina mine should also start, although sufficient power had not yet been restored late on Sunday. A company official said the pace of output recovery at El Teniente would depend on power supply.
El Teniente is the world's biggest underground copper mine with output of 404,000 tonnes in 2009.
Codelco's 435,000 tonne per year Caletones smelter was also set to resume operations on Sunday, a spokesman said.
Anglo-American (AAL.L) shut its Los Bronces and El Soldado mines, which together produce around 280,000 tonnes of copper annually, after the quake cut energy supplies, but a union leader said Los Bronces had resumed activity late on Saturday. He did not know if El Soldado was operating.
A company spokesman could not be reached on Sunday. Anglo-American has been planning to expand the 238,400 tonnes per year Los Bronces deposit.
No one could be reached at the company to clarify the situation at the mines on Sunday.
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc (FCX.N) said the quake did not damage its two mines, but said a power outage at its Candelaria mine had caused a temporary shutdown. [ID:nWEN0976]
Xstrata XTA.L and BHP Billiton (BHP.AX)XTA.L said all their operations were running normally.
SMALLER MINERS REPORT NO DAMAGE
Smaller miners reported little impact. Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO), Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO) and Breakwater BWR.TO said their mines had not been affected. Teck Resources Ltd (TCKb.TO) said the quake had not impacted its Andacollo and Quebrada mines, though they could still be hit by power supply restrictions.
SMALLER PORTS SHUT
The Chilean copper-exporting port of San Antonio was closed, but Codelco officials said roads leading to the port were in good condition. The port of Valparaiso, which is not used for metals exports, was also closed.
The key copper-exporting ports of Antofagasta and Mejillones were operating normally.
Here is an overview of major mines and smelters in Chile: Mine Location Operator Output Status KM Dist from
Concepcion El Teniente 75km S of Santiago Codelco 404,000 ops resumed 240 Andina 50km NE of Santiago Codelco 210,000 ops suspend 320 Los Bronces 65km NE of Santiago Anglo-American 235,000 ops resumed 335 El Soldado 132km N of Santiago Anglo-American 50,000 ops suspend 400 Los Pelambres 200km NE of SantiagoAntofagasta 310,000 n/a 480 Candelaria FreeportMcMoRan185,000 power outage 650 Escondida far north BHP Billiton 780,000 ops normal 750 Collahuasi far north Xstrata/Anglo 435,000 ops normal 1,000 Chuquicamata far north Codelco 565,000 ops normal 1,140 Top smelters Near Operator Capacity Status KM Dist from
Concepcion Caletones El Teniente Codelco 435,000 ops suspend 250 Potrerillos Codelco 195,000 ops normal 750 Altonorte Antofagasta Port Xstrata 268,014 n/a 926 Chuquicamata Chuquicamata Codelco 590,130 ops normal 1,140
* Status as of 2230 GMT on Sunday from Reuters reports.
* Output as of 2009 from Metals Production Database; Teniente/Andina output as of 2009 from company; Bronces/Soldado output as of 2008 from company Website.
* Location is based on company information, public data
* Distance best estimate using company data, Google Maps (Reporting by Alonso Soto in Santiago and Euan Rocha in Toronto)