July 28, 2017 / 8:26 PM / a year ago

Codelco sees slightly lower copper output in second quarter

ANTUCOYA MINE, Chile, July 28 (Reuters) - Chile’s Codelco , the world’s No. 2 copper producer, expects second-quarter output to decrease about 1 or 2 percent from the year-ago period, its chief executive said Friday.

“Our production is a little below last year’s,” Nelson Pizarro told journalists at the opening of Antofagasta’s new Antucoya mine in Chile’s northern copper belt.

Codelco produced just over 400,000 tonnes of copper in the second quarter of 2016.

In this year’s first quarter, Codelco’s output fell 11 percent year-on-year, as ore grades deteriorated at its aging mines.

The state-run firm, which recently lost the top global copper producer ranking to Freeport-McMoRan Inc, is betting on an ambitious $18 billion investment plan to turn around its fortunes.

“Each day I am more optimistic than yesterday,” Pizarro said, referring to the copper price, which hit a two-year high earlier this week on forecasts of solid demand and tight supply.

Reporting by Gram Slattery, Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Richard Chang

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