SANTIAGO.- According to information released today by the Central Bank, Chilean copper exports totalled US$ 1.737 billion dollars in April – indicating a drop of 52% when compared to the same month of 2008.
With the new figure, copper shipments for the first four months of this year have totalled US$ 5.970 billion dollars, representing a plummet of 59% in comparison to the same time period last year.
The production of copper has been affected by an industry slowdown as international prices have plummeted from the highs they reached last year.
The National Mining Society (Sonami) has estimated that Chilean copper exports could reach some US$ 20 billion dollars in 2009, while production is expected to increase only 1.3% in comparison to last year.
For the whole of 2008, copper shipments totalled US$ 31.807 billion dollars.
The copper industry in Chile is headed by the state-owned giant Codelco and English/Australian company BHP Billiton. Other participants include Antofagasta Minerals, Anglo American and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.