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SANTIAGO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Chilean copper miner Antofagasta Plc will close its small Michilla mine in the country's north next year because it is no longer economically viable, the company said on Thursday.
The London-listed group will shut Michilla at the end of 2015 after 32 years of operation. The mine is expected to produce around 30,000 tonnes of fine copper next year, over 40 percent less than at its 2003 peak.
"In recent months exploration has confirmed ... that sufficient copper reserves do not exist to maintain and justify economically a large scale mining operation, which are the kind where we are most efficient," Chief Executive Officer Diego Hernandez said in a statement.
He added that smaller mining firms could be interested in the remaining reserves.
High energy costs, falling ore grades and a sliding copper price have had an impact on production of the base metal in Chile, still by far the number one source of copper globally. (Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)