(Reuters) - All but one of Chile’s biggest copper mines hit by the massive weekend earthquake had restored operations by Monday, but persistent power supply problems threatened to restrict production rates.
Codelco’s 210,000 tonne per year Andina mine -- equivalent to less than 4 percent of the country’s production, which accounts for about one-third of world supply -- restarted its operations, the state-owned company said Monday.
Energy facilities appeared at greater risk, with the Quintero liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal not accepting vessels after a loading arm was damaged and no further information about the country’s two refineries that were forced to close after sustaining damage.
Copper futures jumped to their highest in more than five weeks on Monday after the quake forced the temporary closure of more than a fifth of the country’s output capacity.
Following are details of the effects on energy and mining operations after the quake, which struck early Saturday 70 miles northeast of Concepcion and about 200 miles south of Santiago.
Mines producing over 1.2 million tonnes a year -- nearly a quarter of the country’s total 5.4 million tonnes last year -- were initially suspended by the quake, but production started to recover on Sunday despite erratic power supplies.
* The two biggest mines in the far north -- Escondida, Chuquicamata and Collahuasi, which together produce a third of Chile’s copper -- were not affected. A union leader said transport between Escondida and port facilities was not disrupted.
* Xstrata and BHP Billiton said all their operations were running normally.
* State miner Codelco said its El Teniente complex was operating again on Sunday.
* Anglo-American said its Los Bronces, El Soldado and Mantoverde mines -- which produced 341,300 tonnes or half the company’s copper output last year -- had resumed activity. It also restarted operations at the 137,700 tpy Chagres smelter.
* Operations at Antofagasta’s flagship Los Pelambres mine resumed on Sunday after the quake temporarily disrupted power supplies and the company said it did not expect further disruption at the site. Its mines in the north were not affected.
* Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc said it was resuming normal production at its Candelaria mine although power supply problems persisted.
Asian gas oil markets rose after the Chilean government pledged to boost diesel imports following the closure of two major oil refineries run by the state oil company.
* Chile’s top electricity provider Transelec said Monday it would be able to meet power demand despite damages to installations after a massive earthquake that cut supplies in swathes of the country.
* State energy firm ENAP shut down both its 116,000 barrels per day (bpd) Bio Bio oil refinery, which is located just north of the city of Concepcion, as well as its roughly 100,000 bpd Aconcagua refinery near the capital.
* Mining Minister Santiago Gonzalez told Reuters officials were trying to assess structural damage to Bio Bio. ENAP said it was increasing diesel imports to meet demand. It said it had sufficient gasoline stocks to last two weeks and diesel stocks for 10 days.
* BG said it was not accepting any LNG vessels at its Quintero LNG terminal because the loading arm had been damaged. It said it did not have any timeline for restarting loading.
* The newly-completed Mejillones LNG terminal in northern Chile was unaffected by the quake, a GDF spokesman said.
Smaller miners reported little effect.
* Barrick Gold Corp, Kinross Gold Corp and Breakwater said their mines had not been affected. Teck Resources Ltd said the quake had not impacted its Andacollo and Quebrada mines, though they could still be hit by power supply restrictions. Yamana Gold Inc says El Penon operations not seriously impacted.
* The Chilean copper-exporting port of San Antonio set to resume operations at 1500 GMT.
* Key copper-exporting ports of Antofagasta and Mejillones in the north were operating normally.
* Steelmaker CAP closes southern unit due to damage.
Here is an overview of major mines and smelters in Chile:
Major Mines Location Operator Output Status
El Teniente 75km S of Santiago Codelco 404,000 ops resumed
Andina 50km NE of Santiago Codelco 210,000 ops suspend
Los Bronces 65km NE of Santiago Anglo-American 235,000 ops resumed
El Soldado 132km N of Santiago Anglo-American 50,000 ops resumed
Los Pelambres 200km NE of SantiagoAntofagasta 310,000 ops resumed
Candelaria FreeportMcMoRan185,000 starting up
Escondida far north BHP Billiton 780,000 ops normal
Collahuasi far north Xstrata/Anglo 435,000 ops normal
Chuquicamata far north Codelco 565,000 ops normal
Minor Miners Reporting No Impact:
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Top smelters Near Operator Capacity Status
Caletones El Teniente Codelco 435,000 ops suspend
Potrerillos Codelco 195,000 ops normal
Altonorte Antofagasta Port Xstrata 268,014 n/a
Chuquicamata Chuquicamata Codelco 590,130 ops normal
Energy facilities Location Operator Capacity Status
BioBio Refinery N of Conception ENAP 116,000 shut
Aconcagua Refinery near Santiago ENAP 100,000 shut
Quintero LNG 110km NE of Santiago BG 2.5 mln Ts loading
Mejillones LNG GDF Suez unaffected
* Status as of 1430 on Monday from Reuters reports.
* Output as of 2009 from Metals Production Database (here); Teniente/Andina output as of 2009 from company; Bronces/Soldado output as of 2008 from company Website.
* Location based on company information, public data
* Distance best estimate using company data, Google Maps
Reporting by Alonso Soto in Santiago and Euan Rocha in Toronto