(Adds quarterly mining figures, context)
SANTIAGO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Chilean manufacturing ticked up 5.3% and commercial activity was up by 6.3% in September, though the country’s copper output was down 0.8% at 484,768 tonnes, the government statistics agency INE said on Friday.
INE said the manufacturing uptick was due to a 7.7% year-on-year increase in the production of food products, primarily pork, for the country’s annual independence celebrations in September. The production of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks also spiked.
The increase in commercial activity was led by supermarket sales which increased 4.6%.
It said the dip in copper production was down to dwindling ore grades and less mineral processing in major companies in the sector.
The key mining sector battled to maintain operations throughout the pandemic but was forced to reduce staffing and suspend projects and smelters after virus cases took off in June and July.
Last month state-run Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, reported that its production had dipped 4.4% in July compared to the same month the previous year, while private miners BHP and Collahuasi continued in positive territory.
Chief Executive Octavio Araneda told reporters earlier this month the company was now back to producing at full capacity and aimed to meet its 2020 output targets now the coronavirus pandemic is under control in Chile.
January to September production of copper increased 0.5% over the same period last year, at 4.3 million tonnes. (Reporting by Aislinn Laing; editing by John Stonestreet and David Evans)
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