According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Chile is the top producer of copper in the world. Despite being hit with earthquakes, heavy rains and strikes last year, the country still managed to produce a whopping 5.7 million metric tonnes of the metal—almost 4 million metric tonnes more than China, whose 1.75 million metric tonnes had it ranked in second place.
InvestingNews.com also reported that four of the top five producing copper mines are located in Chile, with the other one being located in the United States. Karen Norton, Senior Analyst at Thomson Reuters GFMS notes that Chile’s Escondida mine is the top producer in the world.
In 2015, the mine was by far the biggest in terms of output. Last year, it produced a total of 1.148 million tonnes, which were comprised of mostly concentrate. This number was down just 0.5 per cent from 2014 levels, the record number countered by a 25 per cent drop in ore grade.
The lower ore grades are expected to impact the mine in 2016. However, a new USD $4.2 billion concentrator and USD $3.0 billion water desalination plant are expected to counter the impact of lower grades in coming years.
The other four of the top five mines include Freeport McMoRan’s Morenci mine in the U.S.; Codelco’s Chilean El Teniente mine; Anglo American, Mitsui and Glencore’s Collahuasi mine in Chile; and Anglo American’s Los Bronces mine.