SANTIAGO, Dec 29, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News Select via Comtex) -- (Updates with additional data on production of copper concentrate and cathodes, molybdenum, gold, silver and iron ore.)
Chilean copper output fell 0.3% to 467,478 metric tons in November from the 468,778 tons produced in the same month a year ago, the government's statistics agency said Wednesday.
The drop in output was due to a strike at one of the biggest mining companies in the country, said the agency, known as INE.
Some 1,550 unionized workers at mining company Dona Ines de Collahuasi put down their tools on Nov. 5 for a strike that ran through the first week of December.
During the strike, the mining company said it maintained its production and sent out several shipments of copper to various customers in Europe and Asia.
In the 11 months of the year, Chile produced 4,915,410 tons of copper, up 0.1% from the 4,912,174 tons in January-November 2009.
Last year, Chile produced 5,408,561 tons, up 0.8% from 2008. That is equivalent to about 35% of global copper production.
The production of copper contained in concentrates slipped 0.7% in November year-on-year to 214,631 tons, the INE said.
Output of copper cathodes, meanwhile, declined 1.7% on the year to 223,017 tons, the institute said.
Cathodes, which are large sheets of 99.99% pure copper, have a higher added value than concentrates, as concentrates must be smelted or refined to get the purer form of the metal. The country also produces other forms of copper, such as blister, but in very small amounts.
Chile is also one of the leading molybdenum, iodine, lithium, gold and silver producers. The mining industry represents about 20% of the country's gross domestic product, according to the government's most recent data.
Molybdenum output in November totaled 2,954 tons, a 2.9% decrease from the 3,043 tons produced the same month a year ago.
For the January to November period, molybdenum output rose 3.2% to 33,165 tons from the 32,125 tons produced in the first 11 months of 2009.
In November, gold production fell 5.9%, while silver output surged 22.8% on the year, the INE said without providing how much gold or silver was produced during the month. Both precious metals are often found as byproducts at many Chilean copper mining operations.
Iron ore production rose 22.4% in November to 176,567 tons, the INE said.