Chile mines unharmed by quake; some ports shut

by Reuters
Wednesday, 2 April 2014 14:51 GMT

(Adds details on other mines, roads, context) SANTIAGO, April 2 (Reuters) - Copper operations in the world's top producer were broadly unharmed after a major earthquake in mineral-rich northern Chile on Tuesday night spooked miners and prompted some preventive evacuation of workers. Still, several metal-exporting ports in the Andean country remained closed on Wednesday morning following a tsunami evacuation, suggesting trade flows might be temporarily interrupted. The copper price rose to its highest in more than three weeks on Wednesday on concerns supply could be affected following the 8.2 magnitude quake. Chile supplies a third of the world's copper. But none of the quake-proofed mines in the Andean country reported structural harm following the earthquake, which killed six and triggered a tsunami that pounded the shore. The massive Collahuasi mine, a partnership between Glencore Xstrata Plc and Anglo American Plc, located relatively close to the epicenter, preventively evacuated workers, but said the deposit and port were intact and that mining operations should normalize on Wednesday. Chile state-run miner Codelco and global miner BHP Billiton said on Wednesday that their mines and ports were experiencing no problems with copper shipments. The northern ports of Arica, Patache, Iquique, Mejillones and Tocopilla are closed or only partially operational, according to the Chilean army. Big commodities consumer China is the world's top consumer of metals, and many of the ships on Chile's Pacific coast cross the ocean to Asia. The CESCO/CRU copper conference that kicks off next week in capital Santiago, where the quake was not felt, is set to proceed as normal. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero, Felipe Iturrieta; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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