Mining giant expects Chinese demand to keep copper prices high  Many commodities have surged in value over the past two years, as worldwide inventories have rapidly depleted amid burgeoning demand. According to a published report, the world's biggest copper producer is betting China's exceedingly high consumption rates will justify its massive investment in its mines.

Bloomberg reports that Codelco plans to invest more than $20 billion as it works to upgrade its copper mines. Codelco chief financial officer Thomas Keller said in an interview this week the mining giant expects copper prices to continue to rise over the next year as demand for the commodity - used in most construction projects, as well as in a number of electronics - rises in emerging economies.

Copper futures have declined 10 percent this month, but the metal has soared in value over the past few years, leading many analysts to dub it "the new gold."

Global supply shortages have served to bolster prices, while Codelco projects demand from China, which currently uses about 35 percent of the company's out, will help support the commodity's high prices.

"Copper is on very sound footing to withstand these difficult times," Keller said. "Our investment plan won’t be impacted by the short-term copper price indicators."
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