In the wake of copper falling to US$2.20 per pound - its lowest price since October 31, 2016 - Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica recognized that this is a complex situation, but said it is due to the global threat posed by Coronavirus and its economic impact on China.
"This is a situation affecting the whole world and, in the case of Chile in particular, it has affected the price of copper, which has fallen to US$2.20 per pound. This is a hard blow for the Chilean mining industry, and particularly for the Treasury, as every 1 US cent reduction in the copper price reduces the Treasury's receipts by US$60 million,” the Minister explained.
Minister Prokurica added that "this is a complex and difficult situation, but it is temporary, because the main cause for this reduction in the copper price is the Coronavirus outbreak and the impact it has had on the economy of China, which is the main consumer of copper.”
The Mining Minister explained that , following the implementation of the Copper Price Stabilization Fund, the Chilean National Mining Corporation (Enami) is paying US$2.85 per pound of copper to small-scale miners. He added, "as a result of the current situation, Enami is going to announce a package of special measures to accelerate resources, automatically replace licenses, and other measures to support this sector, which is the least able to withstand these price reductions.”
Referring to the decision by Teck Resources Limited to temporarily suspend construction work at its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) project to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the Tarapacá Region. Minister Prokurica said, "this is a measure taking us in the right direction, and we will be monitoring it as the epidemic evolves.”