Falling copper prices have major impact on Chile’s mining communities

Global Business

Chile is the largest producer of copper in the world. The price of copper sets Chile’s economic thermometer – but it also depends on China.

As CCTV America’s Joel Richards reports, falling copper prices and a drop in Chinese demand are having an effect on mining communities in northern Chile.

Falling copper prices have major impact on Chile\'s mining communities

In many ways, the price of copper sets Chile's economic thermometer. But a lot of that depends on China.

Double digit growth in China pushed prices of copper up and lead to a ‘super cycle’ boom from 2005 to 2011. But, demand from China is cooling.

In the northern region, mining accounts for 50 percent of economic production, and every mining job in turn creates three or four local jobs. Officials have said that ‘copper is Chile’s salary’- which is why a drop in productivity has a ripple effect.

According to government statistics, the mining sector lost 10 percent of its jobs last year. Some miners are looking to take their expertise elsewhere as they search for work but others are simply hoping prices rebound.