SANTIAGO, CHILE (AP) — The massive earthquake that shook Chile sent copper prices up Wednesday.
News that a 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the northern coast of Chile, the world’s largest copper producer, pushed copper prices up in early trading. Prices drifted lower as reports trickled out that the country’s mining operations escaped major damage.
Copper for May delivery settled at $3.05 a pound, up by a penny. The most actively traded contract reached as high as $3.07.
“They have to make sure the mines are structurally sound and that’s a delay in production,” said Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at RJ O’Brien & Associates in Chicago. “So, we saw copper prices go up as a result.”
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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off northern Chile on Tuesday night, setting off a small tsunami that forced evacuations along the country’s entire Pacific coast. Five people were crushed to death or suffered fatal heart attacks, the interior minister said, but Chile apparently escaped major damage or serious casualties.
The shaking loosed landslides that blocked roads, power failed for thousands, an airport was damaged and several businesses caught fire. About 300 inmates escaped from a women’s prison in the city of Iquique, and Chile’s military was sending a planeload of special forces to help police guard against looting.
In the city of Arica, 86 miles (139 kilometers) from the quake’s epicenter, hospitals were treating minor injuries, and some homes made of adobe were destroyed and 90 percent of customers were without power, authorities said.
The quake also shook modern buildings in nearby Peru and in Bolivia’s high altitude capital of La Paz.
Hours later, a tsunami warning remained in effect for northern Chile, but alerts were lifted elsewhere.
“We regard the coast line of Chile as still dangerous, so we’re maintaining the warning,” geophysicist Gerard Fryer at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center told The Associated Press.
Chile’s Emergency Office said its tsunami watch would remain in effect for six more hours, meaning hundreds of thousands of people along the coast would not sleep in their beds. Swimmers and surfers in the U.S. state of Hawaii, thousands of miles away in the Pacific, might see higher waves Wednesday, the warning center said.
The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported the quake at 8.0, but later upgraded the magnitude. It said the quake struck 61 miles (99 kilometers) northwest of Iquique, hitting a region that has been rocked by numerous quakes over the past two weeks.
The latest activity began with a strong magnitude-6.7 quake on March 16 that caused more than 100,000 people to briefly evacuate low-lying areas. Hundreds of smaller quakes followed in the weeks since, keeping people on edge as scientists said there was no way to tell if the unusual string of tremors was a harbinger of an impending disaster.
Chile is the world’s leading copper producing nation, and most of its mining industry is in the northern regions. Top mining companies said there was no serious damage to their operations so far. Copper for May rose a penny to $3.03 a pound.
Associated Press writers Eva Vergara in Santiago and Frank Bajak in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.Tagged with tED