Chile's Codelco sees medium-term copper price at $2.6-$2.8 per pound: newspaper

FILE PHOTO: A copper roll that will be used for drawings is seen at the workshop of the artist Ricardo Moreno in San Pedro de Barva, Costa Rica October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate/File Photo

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile’s Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, expects prices to average about $2.6 to $2.8 per pound over the medium term, its chief executive said in an interview published on Sunday.

State-controlled Codelco is in the midst of a $40 billion investment push aimed mainly at boosting its so-called “structural projects” to allow it to maintain its current level of production.

“We are looking at a medium-term copper price that ranges from just over $2.6 to $2.8 dollars per pound,” CEO Octavio Araneda said in an interview with local newspaper El Mercurio.

He said the company should generate additional revenue for the state of about $1 billion per year starting in 2021.

He also said the company may return to the debt market “if favorable conditions exist” despite doubts about its already high level of leverage.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Hugh Bronstein; editing by Jason Neely