UPDATE 2-Heavy Chile rains hit some of world's biggest copper mines

domingo 17 de abril de 2016 19:28 GYT

(Adds comments from Anglo on Los Bronces, El Soldado)

By Anthony Esposito

SANTIAGO, April 17 (Reuters) - Heavy rains in central Chile have prompted global miner Anglo American Plc and state-owned producer Codelco to temporarily suspend operations at two major copper mines with combined annual capacity of 880,000 tonnes.

Any outages will be keenly watched by copper investors as the market suffers its longest crisis in more than a decade amid concerns about oversupply as demand from top consumer China slows.

Natural disasters in Chile, the world's top copper exporter, have crimped output. The torrential downpours during the weekend follow a September 2015 earthquake and March 2015 flooding, which also caused disruption.

The heavy rains over the weekend have left one person dead, seven missing and millions without drinking water as landslides wreaked havoc and rivers breached their banks.

Anglo American told Reuters on Sunday that it was normalizing mining activities at its flagship Los Bronces copper mine, after previously suspending them for security reasons. It said the plants at Los Bronces were operating normally.

Mining activity at Anglo's smaller El Soldado copper mine remained suspended, but its plants were operating normally with stockpiled material, the company added.

Neither of the mines suffered any damage to infrastructure and an access road to Los Bronces that had been blocked by debris has been cleared, it said.   Continuación...