Covid-19 is making BHP's Escondida grade battle that much harder

The world’s top producing copper mine is still in the midst of a grade problem and Covid-19 is making that harder to counteract.

Output at Chile’s Escondida, which contributes almost 6% of global copper supply annually, will fall for the coming two years, primarily due to lower grades of ore being processed there, majority owner and operator BHP said in its annual results this week.
The mine will produce between 940,000 tonnes and 1.03 million tonnes of copper in the September 2020-21 financial year, a minimum of 155,000 tonnes lower than this year and the lowest since the mine endured the world’s longest strike in 2017.
This is despite the mine having fired up all three of its concentrators to maximum capacity – 371,000 tonnes of ore is processed every day at Escondida on average.

The cut? Despite pulverising record amounts of...

Published

Archie Hunter

September 16, 2020

14:08 GMT

London