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Codelco's Q1 pretax profit drops 31% YOY, Chuquicamata unions agree to talks

Chilean state-owned copper miner Codelco's pretax profit for the three months dropped 31% on a yearly basis to US$372 million, Reuters reported May 30.

The company's copper production totaled 342,000 tonnes in the first quarter, down 18% year over year. The cost of production for the quarter slipped 0.3% year over year to US$1,347 per pound of copper.

Meanwhile, unions at the state-owned miner's at its Chuquicamata operation said they are willing to initiate government-mediated talks on May 31 in a bid to avert a strike.

Unionized workers at Chuquicamata recently voted to go on strike after 80% of the about 3,000 members of unions No. 1, 2 and 3 rebuffed the miner's final contract offer.

Codelco CEO Nelson Pizarro said he was confident that the company and workers will be able to reach an agreement.

The company started underground mining operations at Chuquicamata in April as part of a 10-year, US$40 billion overhaul of its aging facilities to maintain output amid falling ore grades at its mines.