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Chile’s Codelco reports 10% drop in copper production in 2022

Chile’s National Copper Corporation (Codelco), among the world’s leading copper producers, reported today, Tuesday, that it recorded a 162,000-ton drop in its 2022 production, compared to the previous year, equivalent to 10 percent less.

Codelco said in a statement that the “specific difficulties” the state-owned company had the previous year, between structural failures and weather events, caused a setback in annual production.

“Seventy-seven percent was due to problems in operational continuity and 23 percent to project delays. We have had an extraordinarily eventful year,” said the chairman of Codelco’s board, Máximo Pacheco, at a forum organized by the College of Engineers and the trade association Voces Mineras (Mining Voices).

Chile's Codelco reports 10% drop in copper production in 2022
Chile’s Codelco reports 10% drop in copper production in 2022. (Photo internet reproduction)

He said Chile had been stuck at a copper production of 5.4 million tons for almost two decades.

Pacheco called for rethinking the future production model for copper mining, Chile’s main export product.

The former Minister of Energy assured that the stagnation of production “shows the sector’s difficulties to maintain and increase its production levels, similar to what other projects are facing at an international level”.

He said that the pandemic, the new coronavirus, the conflict in Ukraine, and inflation, among other factors, have impacted the execution of projects worldwide in recent years.

Pacheco referred expressly to mining projects considered “high risk” as they are “long-term and demanding investment” initiatives.

For this reason, he said that Codelco is carrying out a “deep transparency exercise” to analyze the impact of a series of factors in constructing structural mining projects.

He said technical, economic, management, and even psychological problems are being evaluated.

Despite the sector’s complexities, Pacheco declared that “Codelco is by far the best business for Chile”.

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