March 1, 2001
Codelco has come along way since a derivatives trading scandal in 1993 had Chileans baying for privatization. Under the stewardship of first Juan Villarzú and then Marcos Lima, the world's biggest copper producer has undergone a restructuring, cut its workforce by about a fifth and slashed production costs to 40 cents per pound from around 65 cents.
Villarzú, back in the hot seat for a second term as Codelco's chief executive, says costs cannot be trimmed further. However, volume and productivity increases, rising copper prices and new mining technology have him forecasting pre-tax profits this year of between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion, compared with the $700 millio
At his second go-around as head of the Chilean state-owned mining company Codelco, Juan Villarzú is promising to double the company's value, but he still must contend with vocal, local critics.