|Friday, 24 July 2009|
Minera Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine in terms of annual output, will be closing part of its mining operations for repairs.
Escondida will be repairing the Laguna Seca semi-autonomous grinding (SAG) mill for 45 days, the company said this week, citing persistent problems that led to a decrease in output over the past year. During the first quarter of this year, output fell by about one third compared to 2008, Escondida said.
BHP Billiton, the largest mining company in the world, owns a majority share of Escondida and runs the mine. The company, which manages over 100 operations across 25 countries, reported a record US$15.39 billion profit in the 2007-08 financial year. The company, however, expects a much smaller profit margin this year due to drop in commodity demand through the world.
Copper has seen a steady rise in value over the last several months after crashing near the beginning of 2009. The metal is currently valued at around US$2.42 per pound. BHP Billiton, which had a stock value floating between US$59 and US$62 on Thursday, has seen similar trends, hitting an all-time high of US$95 per share in May 2008 before plummeting as low as US$24.62 per share in Nov. 2008.
SOURCES: EL MERCURIO, REUTERS, MINING WEEKLY, EASY BOURSE
By Daniel Zarchy ( firstname.lastname@example.org)