SANTIAGO, Mar 10, 2011 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- The global copper market will remain tight and copper prices likely will hold at strong levels in the mid- to longer-term, the chief executive of Chile state copper giant Corporacion Nacional del Cobre said Thursday.
"We are optimistic about medium- and long-term copper prices," CEO Diego Hernandez told reporters. He noted it was hard to discuss short-term prices due to current market volatility.
Hernandez declined to comment on the recent variations copper prices have seen as a result of rising crude oil prices and other concerns.
Codelco, as the world's biggest mining company is known, is looking for ways to increase copper consumption. On Thursday, it unveiled copper-alloy handrails at one of Santiago's subway stations.
Copper's antibacterial properties make it an ideal substance to use on handrails and other surfaces people come in direct contact with.
Traditionally, aluminum, stainless steel and plastics are used for these surfaces, but Codelco and other copper producers aim to increase use of the red metal in these applications.