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Chile's Codelco Expects Increased Copper Demand From China
Aug 4, 2010 08:54CST

SANTIAGO, Aug 03, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Chilean state copper-mining company Corporacion Nacional del Cobre said Tuesday that it expects China's copper consumption to grow as the Asian nation improves its electricity distribution system.

China is the world's largest copper consumer, as well as the primary destination for Codelco's copper output.

Increased demand from China bodes well for the world's largest copper-mining company, also known as Codelco.

The modernization of China's electricity transmission system will be a new source of demand for the red metal from Chile, Codelco said in a statement.

"Electricity transmission is a sector that is growing rapidly in China, and today it's one of the most important sectors for the copper market," said Richard Xu, head of the International Copper Association, or ICA, during a visit to Shanghai's World Expo by several Codelco officials.

The electricity transmission project will require an estimated one million tons of copper over the course of at least two years, the ICA said in a statement.

Cage construction for the aquaculture industry is another potential market that could boost copper demand, Xu added. Nearly 75% of the world's aquaculture products come from China, and the industry there is currently testing cages that require copper, he said.

Hospitals could represent yet another new market for copper world-wide, as the metal possesses an antibacterial property. However, it would likely take five years before copper is regularly used in hospitals to destroy bacteria and viruses, said Carmen Tardito, Codelco's market development director.

Chile is the world's premier copper producer, accounting for over a third of the metal's global production. 

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