Chile's Codelco 1st Half Profit Falls 31 Percent

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) â¿¿ Chile's state-run copper giant Codelco said Friday that its profit for the first half of the year fell 31 percent from the same period of 2011, citing lower world metal prices and higher costs for producing metal.

The world's largest copper company said it earned $2.39 billion before taxes in the January-June period, compared to $3.48 billion in the span the previous year.

Codelco said the average price of copper dropped 14 percent from last year. Dwindling ore grades, increasing fuel and energy costs and decreasing output further dragged down earnings of Chile's top export earner.

"It's been pretty dramatic," Chief Executive Officer Thomas Keller said at a news conference in Santiago. "We have more than $150 million in energy costs."

Although copper output fell 6 percent in the first quarter to 767,000 metric tons, the company's target for 2012 remains unchanged.

Codelco and the British mining company Anglo American PLC recently settled a long dispute over control of a copper mine with a multibillion-dollar deal that includes major new Japanese investment in Chile. The settlement removed uncertainty about Anglo's future in Chile, which is the world's top copper-producing country.
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