Codelco cuts cocktail party, tables in key Asia copper event amid restructuring
By Mai Nguyen and Siyi Liu
SHANGHAI, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Chilean state mining company Codelco , the world's biggest copper producer, is cutting some of its usual spending at a major copper gathering in China, sources said, as the company undergoes restructuring.
Codelco chairman has said the company is reassessing the costs of upgrades to the life of its mines.
Chile's Centre for Copper and Mining Studies (CESCO) said in a report that Codelco debt could reach $30 billion by 2030 from $18 billion now if necessary changes are not made, a rare intervention by the influential industry body.
CESCO Asia Copper Week in China is the biggest annual gathering of the copper industry in the region where miners, smelters and traders meet to negotiate and sign long-term contracts.
The week usually ends with the Asia Copper Dinner, a signature event where over a thousand copper-minded professionals gather for a night of networking and entertainment.
Codelco did not buy a dinner table this year, said CESCO chairman Leopoldo Reyes, adding they usually bought a few each year.
Three sources told Reuters Codelco will also not host its regular cocktail party during the week. The event usually receives hundreds of guests.
Codelco did not respond to Reuters questions on the matter.
Reyes said Codelco's decision not to buy any table at the dinner was made before the CESCO report was published, debunking market talks that Codelco was boycotting CESCO events following the report.
"It was not easy for us to issue this (report). We thought very thoroughly and came to a conclusion that we have to do it because it was our duty. We do it because of the importance of Codelco and for Chile," he said.
Codelco's former chief executive officer and chief financial officer resigned earlier this year. The new CEO, Ruben Alvarado, was appointed in August.
"We have a very good opinion about him (Alvarado) so we think they should be taking the proper steps to solve the present issues which is not easy."
Codelco as a state-owned company is good for the stability of Chile, Reyes said.
Codelco production of copper will close the year at around 1.315 million metric tons, towards the lower end of the estimated range. Production last year fell to a 25-year low, but the company expects output to rebound from 2024.
(Reporting by Mai Nguyen and Siyi Liu in Shanghai; Additional reporting by Fabian Cambero in Santiago; Editing by Nick Macfie)