Driven by the mining industry, Chile’s Exports record biggest increase in 30 months

Featured Image: Chuquicamata mine, Chile (Photo: Bruna Fiscuk)

Between January and September 2020, the Chilean mining sector exports to China accounted for 77.9% of the total exportations to the latter, an increase of 17.9% compared to the same period last year [1]. This trend persisted during October 2020, with an increase of 12.9% in Chile’s exports in comparison with October 2019. According to Banco Central’s figures, this represents the highest growth in Chile’s national exports since April 2018.  According to Portal Portuario [1], the shipments of copper minerals and their concentrates stand out, representing 50.9% of exports from the mining sector.

Figure 1 – Copper cathodes production (Source: Empresas Perrot)

This growth is related with an important mining record. The Undersecretary of International Economic Relations, Rodrigo Yáñez, explained to Chile Minería that this increase reflects better prospects for productive activity from the country’s largest trading partners, such as China, Brazil and South Korea, i.e., those who lead the Chilean exportations during October. Tomás Flores, senior economist at LyD, observed that during the third quarter of this year, the world’s economy had a vigorous recovery – China even managed to exceed the pre-pandemic values. “This recovery has brought the price of copper above US $ 3 per pound and has benefited a large part of our export basket”, he analyses.  The Undersecretary of Finance, Francisco Moreno,  highlights that the “ (…) sustained rise in exports to China since April, in the midst of the pandemic, clearly shows that the facilitation measures we have adopted together with Customs and other public services have favored all actors in the logistics chain”.

Figure 2 – Chilean copper shipments (Source: Mundo Marítimo)

This recovery contrasts with the predictions made earlier this year. Bloomberg reported that many copper workers had fallen ill in Chile, which prompted unions to call for the suspension of operations in some mines. The situation was particularly difficult in El Teniente and Chuquicmata, according to data from the Federation of Copper Workers. This resulted in a reduced number of workers and contractors on-site to decrease social interaction. Despite predictions made in May by market observers that the copper exports would fall, in October Chile registered the highest export increase in the last 30 months.


Chile Minería

[1] Portal Portuario: 

Read More:

Banco Central de Chile :

Chile’s value of mining exports 2020, by destination:

Mundo Maritimo:

Empresas Perrot:



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Maria Dias View posts by Maria Dias

Lisbon-based geologist. Graduated from the University of Lisbon, with a M.Sc. degree in Economic Geology. Her M.Sc. thesis was heavily focused on geochemistry and mineral chemistry in magmatic-hydrothermal systems. The project was made in collaboration with EDM (Empresa de Desenvolvimento Mineiro - Portugal), where she worked as an intern for two years. She has a keen interest in geochemistry and petrology applied to ore-forming systems.