Copper mining productivity: Lessons from Chile
Rodrigo Cerda; Hernán de Solminihac; Luis E. Gonzales
Journal of Policy Modeling. Vol. 40, Issue 1, January–February 2018, Pages 182-193
Abstract: Chile represents almost one third of the world’s copper production. Mining is one of the main industries that contributes to our country’s development with resources and is globally recognized. Due to the end of the commodity cycle, improving productivity will be a key variable in mining performance in incoming years. This paper studies mining productivity in Chile by relying on two indicators: measure of the total factor productivity (TFP) using the traditional Solow methodology, and labor productivity. Since 2000, we found a decrease in TFP, explained mainly by the participation of capital as well as diverse factor adjustments to labor and capital inputs. Average labor productivity also decreases 42% from 1999 to 2010, a decrease explained by four determinants: real mining wages, electricity prices, copper prices and mineral grade. Since 2010, average labor productivity has increased 30%, and there is also an opportunity for additional improvement by reducing energy costs as well as by aligning productivity and labor performances.
Keywords: Labor productivity, TFP, Chile, Mining, Labor, Energy, Copper price
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