Anglo expects no disruption to copper output as Covid-19 rises to pandemic highs in Chile

Collahuasi mine

COPPER production from Anglo American’s Chile mines would be unaffected by a resurgence of Covid-19, said Reuters citing the UK-listed group’s country CEO, Aaron Puna.

“No concerns at this point,” Puna told Reuters in an interview. “We’re expecting … we’ll deliver exactly as budgeted.” Anglo operates the Collahuasi and Los Broncos copper mines in Chile.

There was also no risk of near-term supply chain problems as Covid-19 cases spiked to pandemic highs, bringing hospitals to near collapse and prompting authorities to lock down Santiago, the capital, and close the South American nation’s borders.

Puna said he didn’t anticipate near-term issues with output, shipping or supply chain despite the latest round of restrictions. “We haven’t got any red flags or concerns around what we see in … the next eight weeks or so,” he said.

Collahuasi, a partnership between Anglo, Glencore and Japan’s Mitsui & Co, boosted its production in 2020 by 11% year-on-year, according to Chile copper agency figures, while the Anglo American Sur division, which includes Los Bronces, saw output slip just 5%.

Anglo American also remained on track, Puna said, for decisions from Chilean environmental regulators on permits for high-profile operational continuity projects at its Los Bronces mine near Santiago and at Collahuasi.

Puna added that the company was preparing to submit additional data to regulators in April to ensure “transparency” around the miner’s claims that its Los Bronces continuity project would not impact glaciers or the water supply of nearby Santiago, key concerns of local communities and activists.

“Fresh water should be for human consumption,” Puna told Reuters. He said the company would put finishing touches this year on a plan to “… transition in the middle of this decade to non-freshwater sources for Los Bronces.”