Sydney — Mining giant Rio Tinto reported a plunge in its copper output on Thursday as a strike in Chile and Indonesian regulatory changes hit production. In a quarterly report, the world’s second-biggest miner said copper output slumped 37% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year to 84,200 tonnes, adding it had cut its production forecast for the year. It cited a 43-day strike at the world’s largest copper mine — BHP Billiton’s Escondida in Chile where Rio has a 30% interest — as among reasons for the fall, having "adversely impacted" production. The strike ended on March 24 but production was only expected to reach normal levels by July, the Anglo-Australian firm said. Also causing a headache for the miner was a controversial U-turn on mineral exports policy in Indonesia. Regulations introduced in January to relax a ban on shipments of raw mineral ores triggered a standoff with US miner Freeport-McMoRan, halting shipments at its vast copper and gold mine Grasbe...

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