SANTIAGO, May 19, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Copper production at state giant Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile will likely hold steady over the next three years, new Chief Executive Diego Hernandez said Wednesday.
In 2009, the world's biggest copper miner, known as Codelco, produced 1.7 million metric tons of copper and this year output is expected to increase modestly.
"Operations are consolidated and stable production is guaranteed for the next three years," said Hernandez, in remarks delivered at a ceremony marking his arrival at the miner.
He told workers, most of which were listening remotely from the mining sites, that Codelco faced the same problems most of the copper mining industry was grappling with nowadays, namely older miners and falling ore grades.
"This presents the significant challenge of increasing production without pushing costs up," he said.
The former BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP) executive said Codelco could beat these odds by bringing new projects on line and increasing its ore-processing capacity.
Codelco's biggest mines, Chuquicamata and El Teniente, have been producing copper for a century.