This would go some distance towards explaining why copper inventories are so tight and prices so high. Hopefully the new mine in 2008 will bring some stability to the copper market.
Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, said output fell 6.6 percent last year, the third straight annual drop, because of aging mines and labor protests.
Production dropped to 1.67 million metric tons from 1.78 million tons in 2006, Santiago-based Codelco said in a statement. A strike in June and July curbed output, and the amount of copper in the rock at mines declined.
Global stockpiles of the metal have tumbled this year, and copper prices have climbed 27 percent. Production will rise in 2008 with the opening of a new mine, Codelco Executive President Jose Pablo Arellano said at a news conference.