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SONAMI sees Chilean 2009 copper output at 5.4 million tonnes

Chilean national mining association SONAMI said that Chile will produce 5.4 million tonnes of copper in 2009, little changed from output of 5.33 million tonnes in 2008.

Mr Alvaro Merino research head at SONAMI said that the country's powerful mining industry was likely to see zero growth in 2009 as output of copper, its main product, stagnated, while copper prices averaged just 140 to 180 cents per pound, down from more than 300 cents per pound in 2008.

He added that mining exports are set to fall by 50% to around USD 20 billion due to the drop in metals prices. Copper production should rise around 5% in 2010.

Further ahead, Mr Merino expected copper prices to average slightly higher than current levels. He said that "We should see long term prices in current dollars around 190 cents per pound, which has been the average price during the last seventy years."

He also said that Chinese demand will remain the key factor in settling prices. He added that "While China continues with growth rates like those seen this decade and the world economy, copper consumption should grow significantly."

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