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SANTIAGO, July 30 (Reuters) - World No. 1 copper producer Chile produced 513,791 tonnes of copper in June as a new project and improvements at processing plants increased output, government statistics agency INE said on Thursday.
Copper production increased 2.9 percent from a year earlier, and was 1.1 percent higher than May 2015.
Chile, which produces one-third of the world’s copper, is struggling with dwindling ore grades in many of its aging deposits, although new mines are helping to boost output.
Although INE did not specify which operations had contributed to the rise, state-owned Codelco’s Ministro Hales, Polish miner KHGM’s Sierra Gorda, and Japanese-owned Caserones have ramped up production over the last year and are likely responsible for the jump in output.
In recent weeks, state copper giant Codelco has been hit by a strike, though any effects from the labor action would fall outside the June period.
From January through June, Chile produced 2.94 million tonnes of copper, up 2.4 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Production of molybdenum, a metal used to harden steel, surged 24.5 percent to 4,796 tonnes in June from the year earlier, due to additional projects coming on stream, INE said. (Reporting by Gram Slattery)