UPDATE 2-Codelco copper production rises but possible cuts ahead

viernes 27 de noviembre de 2015 12:33 GYT

(Adds comments from CEO)

By Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO Nov 27 (Reuters) - Output at world No.1 copper producer Codelco rose slightly in the nine months to end-September, despite a sliding copper price, but its chief executive said it could make production cuts if the price falls much more.

The Chilean state-run miner produced 1.26 million tonnes of copper in January to September, a 2.3 percent rise from a year ago, it said on Friday.

However, pre-tax profit fell by nearly half compared to last year, to $1.2 billion, slammed by a fall in the price of the base metal, used in wiring and construction.

Cooling demand in key buyer China has driven the copper price to six-year lows with little prospect of a quick recovery, leading many miners to announce the suspension of work.

Codelco, which gives all its profits back to the state, has said it does not yet plan major production cuts, which has weighed further on the copper price.

But Chief Executive Nelson Pizarro said at a conference following release of the results that it has been evaluating "worst-case scenarios."

"If copper prices fall significantly production could be cut," he said, adding that he expected Codelco's 2016 annual output to be roughly similar to this year's and for the copper price to range between $2.05 and $2.50 a pound. It is currently trading at around $2.07.   Continuación...