April 27, 2020 / 8:11 PM / a month ago

Freeport´s El Abra copper mine in Chile to scale back processing as prices plunge

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Freeport’s El Abra copper mine in Chile said on Monday it would scale back copper processing by 40% and lay off workers as global prices for the red metal plunge amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said the plummeting copper price had put it in a “complex” situation and it would lay off 275 workers.

“Currently, all of our company´s efforts are aimed at maintaining operational continuity under this new scenario and working toward recovering production when market conditions improve,” the mine said in a statement.

El Abra said it would reduce its processing of copper ore from 110,000 tonnes daily to 65,000.

Elsewhere in Chile, the world’s top copper producer, some copper miners have considered cutting production, though for now most have opted to reduce staff, beef up sanitary precautions and maintain operations.

Several companies, however, including state miner Codelco, have decided to put some projects on hold amid the outbreak.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; writing by Dave Sherwood; editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler

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