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SMM Exclusive: Chile Earthquake to Push Up Copper Prices
Mar 1,2010 16:34CST
smm insight

SHANGHAI, Mar. 1 (SMM) --
A Massive Earthquake Hits Chile
At 3:34 am on February 27th (local time), a magnitude of 8.8 earthquake struck Chile, and was centered about 200 miles southwest of Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles, The epicenter was some 70 miles from Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city. 

Chile World's No. 1 Copper Producer
Chile is the largest copper producer in the world, with output accounting for 34% of global total. Northern part of the country is major copper production area. Up to now, Chile has discovered several largest copper mines, and 6 of 28 main copper mines having been proven across the global are located in Chile.

Limited Actual  Impact Expected on Copper Mine
Two copper mines with annual capacity of 280kt/yr, subsidiaries of Anglo American Group have stopped production due to stoppage of electricity supply, according to foreign media report after the massive earthquake. In addition, a road to Santiago near one copper mine has been blocked. Codelco's two copper mine fields were close to the epicenter, including ElTeniente, world's largest underground copper mine. It is still unknown whether or not operation has been affected. The spokesman of Chilean Government said no major damage has been found in the mine field.

Escondida copper mine, owned by BHP Billiton is located in northern part of Chile. Local union said production at the mine remained normal yesterday. Most copper mines in Chile are located in northern part of the country, at least 800 kilometers away from the epicenter. However, many copper deposits are also near Santiago.

Earthquake to Drive up Copper Prices
The earthquake will trigger market concerns of copper supply in the short term, which will push up copper prices. However, SMM believes positive impact from the earthquake will be short-term, and copper supply from Chile will return to normal levels for the long term, and prices will return to rational levels as a result. 

To contact the writer on this report: seasonwei@smm.cn


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