SANTIAGO, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Chile's mining chamber expects prices for No. 1 export copper to remain high for the next two to three years, fueled by Chinese demand, chamber head Miguel Angel Duran said Tuesday.
Duran added that a month-long strike at Chile's giant Collahuasi copper mine could hit the deposit's annual output target.
Copper CMCU3 edged to a record high in London Tuesday as a weaker dollar and the metal's tight supply and robust demand fundamentals attracted fresh inflows from funds. For more, see [ID:nLDE6BD0P3]
"China continues to be the motor (behind record prices)," Duran said. "I think in general we are optimistic that this will continue -- though not at $4.20 a lb -- for the next 2 to 3 years."
Duran sees a risk that sustained high prices could prompt manufacturers to substitute other materials for the red metal, like aluminum.
Also CEO of Anglo American Chile (AAL.L), Duran added that a month-long strike at Chile's Collahuasi, the world's No. 3 copper mine, could hit the mine's annual output target.
Collahuasi is owned by Xstrata (XTA.L) and Anglo American and extracts about 3.3 percent of global mined copper.
Workers ended a 32-day strike over pay earlier this month, but the stoppage is seen costing Collahuasi a few thousand tonnes at most -- a tiny fraction of its annual output of 535,000 tonnes a year. For more, see [ID:nN07292338]
Duran added a government decision to raise mining royalties to help fund reconstruction after a massive February earthquake could hamper new mining projects.