SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Copper production at Chile’s top mines dropped sharply in the first quarter of 2019, Chilean copper commission Cochilco said on Tuesday, amid a perfect storm of operational issues, heavy rains and falling ore grades at the largest deposits.
Cochilco said world top copper miner Codelco saw output drop 17 percent from the same period in 2018 to 371,000 tonnes.
BHP’s Escondida copper mine - the world’s largest - also saw production fall 14.8 percent to 274,800 tonnes in the first quarter.
And the Collahuasi copper mine in northern Chile, a joint-venture between Anglo American and Glencore, produced 130,200 tonnes in first quarter, down 5.4 percent from the previous year.
State miner Codelco and other top producers were forced to suspend operations in January as unusually heavy rain and electric storms struck much of Chile’s northern mining country, cutting off roads and collapsing bridges.
Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Alistair Bell