In 2021, Chile recorded an estimated 200 million metric tons of copper reserves, which represented 23% of world reserves, and produced 5.6 billion metric tons of copper.
Chile has large reserves of metallic and non-metallic mineral resources and is the world’s largest producer of copper.
Large amounts of iodine, coal, gold, silver, nitrate, iron ore, and molybdenum are also found in Chile.
As a result, according to a Chilean government report, the mining sector is a significant contributor to Chile’s export sector and GDP.
While non-manufactured mining exports are recorded in the mining sector, the mining production process is included in the manufacturing sector.
Copper is mined by a combination of state and private companies. The state-owned copper company, Codelco, is the world’s largest copper producer and the largest company in Chile.
While Codelco contributed $5.8 billion to Chilean government revenue in 2021, private mining contributed $3.8 billion in 2021.
Under Chilean law, Codelco’s net profits are subject to a 40.0% excise tax in addition to the corporate income tax generally applicable to domestic companies and paid by its private sector competitors.
Furthermore, as a wholly state-owned company, Codelco contributes all of its net income to the central government budget through profit transfers.
In the 1990s, the mining sector grew fueled by increased investment, including the opening of new large mines.
For 2020 and 2021, this sector represented 11.8 and 14.6% of Chile’s GDP, respectively.
Mining products in 2020 and 2021 represented approximately 57.3 and 61.9%, respectively, of Chile’s total exports for a total of approximately 42.5 billion dollars in 2020 and 58.6 billion dollars in 2021.
Although the mining sector continues to be the recipient of most foreign investment in Chile, the trend towards diversification has made the electricity and services sectors increasingly attractive to foreign investors, while mining investment has decreased in relative terms.
Codelco is a mining enterprise wholly owned by the State. Codelco’s corporate purpose is to maximize the value of its mineral resources for the benefit of its shareholder, the Republic of Chile, by fully developing its vast mining resources on a timely basis, leveraging its experienced workforce.