Quarter of World’s Copper Mines Operating at a Loss

Nearly a quarter of the world’s major copper mines are running in the red, even after producers including Codelco and BHP Billiton engage in their deepest cost-cutting in years, according to a Reuters analysis.

A 17-percent slump since last July has pushed copper futures on the London Metals Exchange to under $6,000 a ton, the lowest since 2009, is the first major test of producers’ margins since the global economic crisis, forcing a new reckoning after five years of relatively consistent profitability.

Codelco, the Chilean state miner that produces about 8 percent of the world’s copper, will review the cost reduction plan at its Salvador mine as it prepares to restart operations there after torrential rains shuttered the complex in March, said a source close to the state-run miner.