September 13, 2019 / 12:17 PM / 3 days ago

Chile's Codelco CEO sees copper price down through 2020: local media

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The chief executive of Codelco, the world’s top copper producing company, said copper prices will remain depressed through next year, a result of the continuing uncertainty caused by global trade tensions, according to a report in local media.

Octavio Araneda, who recently replaced long-time miner and CEO Nelson Pizarro at the helm of Codelco, told daily La Tercera on a tour of the state miner’s operations in northern Chile that Codelco would instead seek to immediately boost production.

“Everything indicates that the price of copper will not improve next year. The trade war is difficult to predict,” Araneda said in the newspaper report.

The pessimistic outlook comes at an otherwise tough time for Codelco. Profits plunged 74% to $318 million in the first half of 2019, even as the state miner undertakes a 10-year, $40 billion overhaul of its aging mines.

Araneda told the daily Codelco would aim for a 30 percent increase in productivity in what remains of 2019.

“The solution is fundamentally in our hands,” Araneda said.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood

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