Chilean Mining: Good Copper Bad Copper

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CHILEAN business has historically been a cosy, clubby world, where deals are sealed with a handshake in social settings. However, now that the price of copper, the country’s chief export, has reached record highs, Chile is getting a taste of proper corporate drama.

The mining industry has boomed in recent decades under a hybrid structure, in which Codelco, the state copper company, competes with private firms. Codelco hired Diego Hernández, a former BHP Billiton executive, as its CEO primarily to oversee an expansion strategy.