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FACTBOX-Earthquake shuts some Chilean ports

Source: Reuters - Wed, 2 Apr 2014 19:51 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Updating status of ports, adding detail)

April 2 (Reuters) - Four major ports in Chile used for exporting copper and other natural resources were closed on Wednesday after a major earthquake struck in the north of the mineral-rich country, suggesting trade flows might be temporarily interrupted.

Here is the latest update on the ports' status from the Chilean army:

*Arica, the country's most northern port city on the border with Peru and Bolivia, was closed as of 7:08 a.m. (1008 GMT) on Wednesday due to seismic shocks and abnormal sea swells.

While small, the port is strategically important for shipping copper, zinc and lead from Bolivia, one of the region's biggest mining countries, traders say.

Most Chilean metal exports go through the larger Antofagasta port, which is about 400 miles (640 km) south of Arica, traders said.

*Patache, a port owned by the massive copper mine Collahuasi, was closed prior to the earthquake at 1:02 p.m. (1602 GMT) on Tuesday.

It exported 1.01 million tonnes of copper and iron last year, according to customs data. Collahuasi is a partnership between Glencore Xstrata and Anglo American.

The mine's chief executive officer said the port was not harmed, but workers were evacuated following the tsunami alert.

*Tocopilla was closed prior to the earthquake at 6:01 a.m. (9001 GMT) on Tuesday.

*Iquique, located about 150 miles (240 km) south of Arica and relatively close to the quake's epicenter, was closed as of 12 p.m. (1500 GMT) on Wednesday until an inspection of berths and terminal had been completed.

Earlier on Wednesday, the port had only been partially closed to large ships.

The port exported around 167,858 tonnes of copper and iron last year, according to customs data.

*Mejillones reopened as of 1:32 p.m. (1632 GMT) on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, it had been partially closed for docking and large ships until each terminal had been inspected.

All other ports are open, including Antofagasta and Taltal.

For status updates, see the Chilean army's website: http://link.reuters.com/quq28v (Reporting by Josephine Mason and Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)

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