Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) has
seen copper demand rise in North America this year, the Chilean
miners chief executive officer, Diego Hernandez, said
"The (United) States is fighting
hard to make manufacturing more competitive," Hernandez told
reporters at a news conference at the start of CESCO Week in
"Growth of 2.5 percent is
perfectly achievable this year," Hernandez said of the North
American market. "We are seeing that its happening
already, even in an election year, when usually not too much
Meanwhile, the copper major
continues to watch China, whose ability to meet its growth
target of 7.5 percent this year will be key to how markets
develop, Hernandez said.
"If China grows by 7.5 percent,
we believe the supply/demand (balance) will be quite tight
again, close to 2011 (levels)," Hernandez said.
Codelco does not expect any new
production to come on stream in 2012, he added.
If the company were to grow,
increased production costs mean acquisition is a more
attractive option than building new projects at present,
Hernandez added, noting that Codelco is primarily focused on
its legal battle with Anglo American Plc to acquire a
49-percent stake in Anglo American Sur (AAS) rather than
looking for other companies to acquire.
"The 49 percent is what we want
to acquire; thats big enough to keep us satisfied,"
Codelco is suing Anglo in
Chilean court after the London-based company sold a
24.5-percent stake in AAS to Japans Mitsubishi Corp. in
November and blocked Codelcos attempts to exercise a
previously agreed-upon option to increase its stake in AAS.
"We expect a judgment on the
first instance between the end of this year and mid-2013,"
Codelco is also seeking to
obtain compensation from Anglo for losses it incurred by it not
being able to increase its stake in AAS from January 2012 until
the court reaches its final judgment.