Codelco says electrical fire dented Teniente output

SANTIAGO, April 9 (Reuters) - Chilean state copper giant Codelco, the world’s top producer of the red metal, said Thursday a fire at an electrical substation briefly dented production at its Teniente division -- home to the world’s biggest underground copper mine.

The fire at the substation, owned by power generator Colbun COL.SN, occurred in late March, but only came to light on Wednesday.

“For a few hours, while we were unable to get power, there was less production, but there is a big effort to recover what was lost during those hours,” Codelco CEO Jose Pablo Arellano told reporters.

“The problem is already overcome,” he added, saying Codelco would announce first quarter output results at the end of the the month.

Output at El Teniente, Codelco’s second-largest division, totaled 381,000 tonnes in 2008, down 5.9 percent from a year earlier. Overall, Codelco’s output fell more than 7 percent in 2008 from a year earlier, hit by falling ore grades, a subcontract worker strike and bad weather. (Reporting by Manuel Farias; Editing by John Picinich)