Chile's sulfuric acid supply is tight and electrolytic copper production suffers
According to foreign media reports, the spot price of sulfuric acid has soared due to tight supply, and Chile's electrolytic copper production has suffered as a result. Codelco's Gabriela Mistral copper production fell by 40% in the first quarter of 2021. The reason for the shortage of sulfuric acid was that the slowing down of oil refining during the epidemic led to a shortage of sulfur. At the same time, Asian industries gradually recovered. The sulfuric acid produced was basically consumed locally, and the supply of exports to Chile was limited. Although some smelters in Chile produce sulfuric acid as a by-product, the widely used solvent extraction-electrodeposition technology requires a large amount of sulfuric acid. Under the background of sulfuric acid shortage and labor negotiation risks and epidemic factors, it is difficult for Chile to maintain a high level of copper production. In addition, Cochilco said that if the sulfuric acid shortage situation worsens, it may affect 12% of Chile's copper production.