Sonami: Mining Sector to Grow 1% in 2001

Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Chile's National Mining Society (Sonami) estimates the country's mining sector will grow 1% this year, Sonami president Hernan Hochschild told reporters yesterday.

The figure is down from the 2% growth forecast at the end of 2000. Lower international prices for metals have forced the revision, and Sonami is now predicting copper's 2001 average price will be between US$0.85-0.90/lb, gold between US$265-270/oz and silver $4.50-5.00/oz, Hochschild said.

The organization predicts Chile will produce 4.65Mt of fine copper, 47,000kg gold and 1.15M kg silver.

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Considering the estimated prices and production levels, Sonami forecasts Chile's mineral exports will bring in US$9bn in 2001, a 7% increase over 2000's returns.

Mining investment this year is tipped to rise to the annual peak achieved in the 1990s at around US$1.5bn, chiefly thanks to Escondida's phase IV expansion, which, when commissioned next year, should permit the world's biggest copper mine to exceed 1Mt of fine copper output.