Chile's massive copper mines appear to dodge quake harm

People gathering in the street following a tsunami alert after a powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile's Pacific coast on April 1, 2014, in Antofagasta. -- PHOTO: AFP
People gathering in the street following a tsunami alert after a powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit off Chile's Pacific coast on April 1, 2014, in Antofagasta. -- PHOTO: AFP

SANTIAGO (REUTERS) - Mines in world No. 1 copper producer Chile appear to have emerged unscathed from a major quake that struck near the mineral-rich north of the Andean country on Tuesday.

Chile's Collahuasi copper mine and port have not reported any problems so far following the 8.2-magnitude earthquake, Chief Executive Officer Jorge Gomez told Reuters.

A joint venture led by Anglo American and Glencore Xstrata, Collahuasi was one of the big mines closest to the epicentre.

State copper miner Codelco and London-listed Antofagasta both said their mines were functioning normally.

Still, world No.1 copper producer Codelco said it had evacuated workers from its Ventanas smelting and refinery operation due to a government-ordered tsunami evacuation order.

There were also lingering questions about whether export-dependent Chile's ports might be damaged, which would harm metal shipments.

"I would expect the largest danger is to infrastructure, namely ports and roads, which could obviously affect exports," said Morgan Stanley analyst Joel Crane in Melbourne.