Investors look to South America

May 2018: The high price of metals suggests the industry is recovering — but insiders remain cautious about what’s to come.

The Chilean Copper Commission maintained its forecasted evaluation of copper at US$3,06 per pound for the duration of this year. A deficit of 169,000t of refined copper is expected, which will fall to 87,000t in 2019. During the presentation of the International Copper Market Trends report, which reflects upon the developments of Q1 2018, Ministry of Mining undersecretary Pablo Terrazas noted that, despite the optimistic figures, “we remain cautious of the risks that still persist in the market.”

Sergio Hernández, the VP of Cochilco, commented that the perceived vulnerability of the supply is related to the high number of mining operations that are advancing collective bargaining processes in Chile and Peru. Regarding the growth of copper demand in China, Hernández estimated it will remain 2% annually, reaching 12.1Mt in 2018 and 12.4Mt in 2019. In this context, Chile would produce 5.76Mt this year and 5.94Mt in 2019, a result of the improved performance of mines such as Antucoya (Antofagasta Minerals), Sierra Gorda (KGHM) y Caserones (Lumina Copper).

According to estimations by S&P Global Market Intelligence, the global level of exploration will reach a growth higher than 2017’s 15%, around 20% higher this year.

In Chile, authorities stress the need to implement measures to attract investment, but while these policies are being debated and applied, investors are looking to different destinations – such as Peru and Ecuador. (Read more)