Evaluation: Chilean copper producers applaud hovering costs; watch out for prices

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean mining firms, the world’s largest copper producer, are hailing a rally within the value of the crimson metallic that hit a 10-year excessive this week, however have warned prices might rise as unions and sellers are additionally attempting to make the most of the development.

FILE PHOTO: A employee displays a course of on the Codelco Ventanas copper smelter in Ventanas, Chile, January 7, 2015. REUTERS / Rodrigo Garrido / File Picture / File Picture

Benchmark copper on the London Steel Change soared above $ 9,000 a tonne this week for the primary time since 2011. Analysts mentioned they had been optimistic that rising demand from the vitality and energy industries. development will exceed provide.

The surge in costs prompted main financiers from JP Morgan to Goldman Sachs to foretell a commodity “supercycle” just like that of the early 2000s when demand exploded in rising nations. A “supercycle” in commodity markets is an extended growth in demand that drives costs up till they get so excessive that demand collapses, inflicting costs to fall once more.

“I would not name it a ‘supercycle’, however we’re anticipated to see about three years of excellent costs,” mentioned Diego Hernández, president of the Nationwide Mining Firm of Chile (Sonami), which represents the most effective miners within the nation.

Chilean state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, known as the newest value spike a “good alternative” to generate money for investments, however warned it might drive up the prices of products and repair suppliers.

Excessive copper costs might give union staff clout forward of upcoming labor negotiations. BHP’s Spence mine and Escondida, the world’s largest copper deposit, are anticipated to be negotiated this yr, as are Codelco’s flagship Antofagasta, Los Pelambres and El Teniente mine.

“If the negotiations change into complicated, it might result in potential shutdowns, affecting the copper provide,” mentioned Alejandra Wooden, head of the Heart for Copper Research (CESCO) in Santiago.

She added that almost all firms had been unlikely to considerably change their funding plans because of the takeover, besides maybe dashing up some “fringe” initiatives.

“The problem they face is to not fall into the lure of pondering that this situation will likely be one thing for the long run, and thus abandon the self-discipline of conserving prices low simply to extend manufacturing,” he mentioned. she declared.

(Chart: Copper costs hit their highest stage in over 9 years, approaching their all-time highs,)


Chilean Vitality and Mines Minister Juan Carlos Jobet informed Reuters that almost all giant mining initiatives are long-term value forecasts, however mentioned the latest surge could make some initiatives extra enticing to them. traders.

“If this development continues, we would see a (extra) curiosity in accelerating or executing investments,” Jobet mentioned in a written assertion in response to questions.

The surge in costs is a fine addition for Chile’s struggling coffers because the nation seeks to bounce again from the coronavirus pandemic and rolls out an costly vaccination marketing campaign, the quickest within the area.

The South American mining big is elevating a further $ 60 million in taxes and royalties for each penny the worth of copper will increase, in response to official calculations.

Chile’s state-run Copper Fee, Cochilco, predicted in January that the metallic would common $ 3.30 a pound in 2021 and mentioned the soar to over $ 4 a pound didn’t “justify extraordinary changes ”to this forecast.

BanChile-Citi mentioned in a latest analyst word that it had raised its projection to $ 4 a pound this yr and the next yr, from a earlier estimate of $ 3.40 in 2021 and three.60 {dollars} in 2022 beforehand.


Felipe Román, president of the Chilean Federation of Mines (FMC), which brings collectively giant non-public sector unions, mentioned the worth hike ought to nonetheless present padding for miners to fulfill the wants of staff nonetheless reeling from the pandemic.

However, he mentioned, it was at all times “dangerous” to speak a couple of supercycle that would encourage miners to tackle unsustainable initiatives.

Hernández, of Sonami, mentioned the timing of the worth spike was a helpful reminder of the significance of mining as Chile started to embark on the method of drafting a brand new structure – a course of that the massive multinational mining firms are watching carefully.

“For us, the Chilean mining business … I feel it is a robust argument to proceed to help mining and to make sure sufficient authorized certainty,” he mentioned.

Chilean Financial system Minister Rodrigo Cerda informed reporters this week that the nation ought to stay cautious regardless of the hike, nonetheless, as issues might change.

“We all know that commodities typically, and the worth of copper is considered one of them, are unstable,” he mentioned.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Written by Dave Sherwood; Edited by Adam Jourdan and David Gregorio

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