February 20, 2019 / 1:32 AM / a year ago

Chile says rains have hurt productivity at Codelco copper mines

FILE PHOTO: A truck travels along a road, with copper mine "Chuquicamata" in the background, after heavy rains hit north of Chile near Calama, Chile, February 8, 2019. REUTERS/John Yevenes

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Intense rains at the start of this month in Chile, the world’s top copper miner, likely hurt productivity at state-owned miner Codelco’s Chuquicamata and Radomiro Tomic mines, the country’s mining minister said Tuesday.

Chile’s mining industry has lost about $300 million due to the unusually strong rains that destroyed infrastructure and forced some mining operations to be suspended, according to preliminary government figures.

“There are some impacts in Chuquicamata and Radomiro Tomic that we think will affect productivity. But measures are being taken to keep events of these kinds of events from causing damage again,” Minister Baldo Prokurica said in a statement.

Codelco and other mining companies with operations in northern Chile, such as Freeport-McMoRan, suspended some operations due to the rains.

Codelco has not yet provided details on impacts to its operations but has said all have returned to normal. Chuquicamata and Radomiro Tomic together produced 488,000 tonnes of copper last year.

Reporting By Marion Giraldo, Writing By Mitra Taj; Editing by Susan Thomas

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