SÃO PAULO Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) is targeting output of 2.5 million tonnes per year by 2021, according to local media reports.
"To maintain our position as the leading global producer of fine copper, we intend to bring our production levels to 2.5 million tonnes of fine copper by 2021," president and chief executive officer Thomas Keller Lippold was quoted as saying on Chilean news website Emol. This includes the companys stakes in El Abra (49 percent) and Anglo American Sur (20 percent), he added.
The "survival" of the company as it is today depends on the realization of planned projects, he said.
"If Codelco does not perform the structural projects we have identified, the production at the end of the next decade will be less than half of what we have today," he added.
The Chilean state-owned copper producer announced in March that it will invest more than $5 billion this year, $2.9 billion of which will be used in structural projects mainly to extend the life span of its current mines.
The Chilean government has voiced its approval of Codelcos plans.
"The government has expressed its support for the companys investment program. Naturally we have to analyze and discuss it, bearing in mind that (Codelco) needs to keep investing to develop its full potential," Chilean finance minister Felipe Larraín Bascuñán said in a statement after taking part in a shareholders meeting.
Costs, which have seen a "significant rise" in the past year, are also a major challenge for Codelco, the minister added.
"There are factors such as energy affecting the entire industry, and what we want is to converge from costs that are slightly above the industry average in the second quarter in order to make the operation more profitable," Codelco board chairman Gerardo Jofré Miranda said in a statement.
The Santiago-based companys copper output fell 5.1 percent year on year in 2012 to 1.64 million tonnes, the lowest level since 2009.
A version of this article was first published in AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.