Codelco Seeks $8 Billion Project Savings as Chile Funds Tighten – by James Attwood and Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – November 29, 2019)

Chile’s biggest civil unrest in a generation is heaping the pressure on new Codelco boss Octavio Araneda to squeeze more money out of aging copper deposits.

Before the wave of protests and riots began six weeks ago, Araneda was already facing the difficult task of having to invest billions just to keep production from plunging and costs rising at a time of thin margins in the global copper business.

Now, as the government faces a long list of spending demands to appease protesters, the challenge is more daunting: Codelco will be leaned on to help fund a bigger welfare system and can expect a much more tightfisted response from the state to its spending needs.

“We are in a crucial moment in our history,” Araneda told reporters in Santiago Friday. “Our obligation is to transform ourselves in order to continue contributing to the progress of Chile for at least 50 years more.”

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