SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile´s copper output fell in June for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic landed in the world´s top producer of the red metal, dropping 0.6% to 472,172 tonnes, according to data released on Friday by government statistics agency INE.
The South American nation´s manufacturing output, meanwhile, plunged 8.3% in June, the agency said, as the peak of contagions in the South American nation hammered its economy.
Copper production had, until now, been a sole bright spot, as miners working with skeleton crews continued to churn out the metal, bucking predictions and besting neighbor Peru, which saw its copper output slammed by the pandemic.
Industry-watchers, however, had warned that the country could only maintain production for so long with reduced staff and spiking contagions.
Chile ranks among the hardest hit nations in Latin America by the virus, with upwards of 350,000 infections and more than 9,300 deaths.
Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Fabian Cambero; Editing by Chris Reese and Andrea Ricci