There is a growing concern about cost inflation in the Chilean mining industry, according to the CFO of London-listed Chilean mining group Antofagosta.
The news comes amid worries about overall copper production in Chile, which recorded a down trend of almost eight percent year on year in January.
Hussein Barma at the Jefferies copper conference on Thursday said that sourcing skilled labour will be a key driver in the future. The CFO indicated that labour accounts for just over 10 percent of Antofagasta's total cost base but a limited pool of skilled stuff is already taking a toll on its operations. Both its projects in Caracoles and Telegrafo, which could potentially produce up to 150,000 tons of copper annually, were affected as a result of limited skilled labour.
Barma said Antofagasta is roughly four weeks away from completing negotiations with four contractors to establish the cost of developing its $1.3bn Antucoya project in Chile.
Antofagasta has recently undergone a management shakeup due to unsatisfactory production results, which saw the resignation of CEO Marcelo Awad and a reshuffle of several other managers.