(Adds details on planned maintenance, leaching plant)
SANTIAGO, April 4 The Collahuasi copper mine in
Chile, which is among the world's biggest, expects 2017 output
to beat last year's, and could ramp up production that was
frozen in 2015 if the price of copper keeps rising, the mine's
chief executive told Reuters Tuesday.
The mine, a joint venture between Anglo American and
Glencore, is also expecting to begin maintenance on a
milling plant in April that should last around two months, said
Jorge Gomez, on the sidelines of the CRU World Copper Conference
in Santiago. This type of work tends to have an impact on
"We're on the verge of a scheduled stoppage for...some
milling lines, which should leave us in optimal conditions for
the rest of the year," Gomez said, adding that the process would
take 55 to 60 days.
"(Production) should be slightly higher than what we
produced last year," he added, when asked about 2017 output.
If copper prices continued to rise, he said, Collahuasi
would consider restarting cathode production at the mine, a
process which was stopped in 2015.
Many eyes in the copper industry are on Collahuasi, which
produced 506,000 tonnes of the red metal in 2016, as the mine's
main union is due for contract renegotiations this year. Gomez,
however, declined to discuss the topic.
(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Rosalba O'Brien and
Gram Slattery; Editing by Andrew Hay)