Chile's top copper miners boost June output during coronavirus peak

SANTIAGO, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Chile’s largest copper mines boosted output in June, according to government statistics released late on Tuesday, churning out more of the red metal even as the coronavirus outbreak hit its stride in the South American mining powerhouse.

The Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco) reported that Codelco, the world’s top copper producer, raised production by 2.5% from June 2019, to 131,900 tonnes.

BHP’s Escondida mine, the largest copper deposit in the world, increased production by 1.6% year-on-year, to 105,800 tons.

The massive Collahuasi copper mine in northern Chile, a joint venture between Anglo American and Glencore , posted a 30.2% year-on-year increase to 57,800 tonnes.

The country’s total production, however, dropped 0.7% year-on-year in June to 460,200 tons as some smaller mines were forced to reduce output amid the pandemic.

But world top copper producer Chile boosted output overall in the first half of 2020 by 2.6%, to 2.83 million tonnes, the copper agency statistics show.

Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Richard Chang