Antofagasta may cut costs more if copper price stays low - CEO

martes 24 de noviembre de 2015 13:03 GYT

By Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO Nov 24 (Reuters) - Chilean mining company Antofagasta Plc will likely have to further cut costs if the price of copper does not recover within the next month, Chief Executive Officer Diego Hernandez said on Tuesday.

Some cuts had already been made, said Hernandez, speaking on the sidelines of a mining forum in Santiago.

The price of copper, which is Chile's top export, hit its lowest in more than six years on Monday as a firmer dollar compounded pressure from ebbing demand from key buyer China. It recovered slightly on Tuesday to trade at around $4,597 a tonne.

"It is still very premature to know if the price is going to stabilize at these lower levels, or if it will rebound," Hernandez told journalists.

"But effectively, if the price stays like this for the next 30 days probably we will have to do a new revision (to costs)."

The trough in the copper price was already a "crisis," he said, adding that there was still much uncertainty about a recovery, given the signs that China was entering a new phase of weaker demand growth.

London-listed Antofagasta cut its 2015 copper output forecast for the third time last month, and said it was reducing its workforce by about 7 percent.

The head of its operational division told Reuters on Nov. 20 it would try to reduce costs next year, but that lower ore grades limited its room to maneuver. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)