30 September 2009

Chile Copper Output Rises 7.8% on Codelco, BHP Mines

By Nathan Gill
Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Copper output in Chile, the world’s biggest producer, rose 7.8 percent in August from a year earlier after state-owned Codelco and BHP Billiton Ltd. boosted production, the government said.

Output increased to 459,823 metric tons from 426,689 tons a year earlier, the country’s national statistics agency said in a statement distributed in Santiago today.

Copper prices have doubled this year as demand for the metal used to make wires and pipes rose in China, the biggest importer of the commodity. The metal advanced the most in more than a month in New York after manufacturing reports for China and Japan signaled increased demand.

Futures for December delivery climbed 3.3 percent to $2.819 a pound on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Comex division, its steepest gain since Aug. 21.

Codelco, based in Santiago, is the world’s biggest copper producer. Melbourne-based BHP, the largest mining company, owns 57.5 percent of Chile’s Escondida, the world’s biggest copper mine.
Production of molybdenum, used for stainless steel making, rose 27 percent to 3,164 tons from 2,495 tons a year earlier, the agency said.