SANTIAGO, Feb 28, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News Select via Comtex) -- Chile produced 446,887 metric tons of copper in January, an increase of 5.4% from the same month last year, the government statistics agency said Monday.
The gain was due to a low basis of comparison for the previous year, the agency, known as INE, said.
The production of copper contained in concentrates surged 8.5% year-on-year in January to 206,658 tons, the INE said.
Output of copper cathodes inched up 0.3% on the year to 219,442 tons, the institute said. Cathodes, 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.
In addition to being the world's largest copper producer, Chile is also one of the leading producers of molybdenum, iodine, lithium, gold and silver. The mining industry represents about 20% of the country's gross domestic product, according to the government's most recent data.
Molybdenum output in January totaled 3,515 tons, up 30% from the 2,704 tons produced the same month a year ago.
Iron ore production rose 35.5% in January the INE said without providing the tons produced.
Unlike in previous months, the INE didn't publish silver or gold production data. Both precious metals are often found as byproducts at Chilean copper mines.