Copper production in Chile, the world's largest copper producer, fell for the third month in a row in March, marking a modest but sustained decline shortly after the country was hit by a coronavirus pandemic, according to government statistics agency INE.
Copper production fell 1.3 per cent to 491720 tonnes in March, in line with new restrictions on transport and commerce in the southern hemisphere, the agency said.
Chile's expanding mines have far outperformed many of its neighbours as mining companies quickly adapt to the epidemic, tighten health protection restrictions and slash on-site staff. But production at some copper mines, including Eskondida (Escondida), the world's largest owned by BHP (BHP), has fallen in recent months as fatigue intensifies.
Declining ore grades and maintenance work in some large mines have also slowed production, the agency said.
Copper production in Chile fell 2.2 per cent year-on-year to 1.4 million tons in the first quarter of 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.