The copper price breached US$7,000t last month on strike action in both Chile and Peru.
It had reached the $6,000t mark earlier this year as strike action took hold at BHP's (AU:BHP) majority-owned Escondida copper mine and the permitting dispute at Freeport-McMoRan's Grasberg copper-gold operations in Indonesia heated up.
"It's going to be pretty tough," Bloomberg Intelligence senior energy and mining analyst Andrew Cosgrove told the wire service.
"Copper price risks mainly come from the Chinese property sector, but the Chilean negotiations add a thicker layer of price support."
Meanwhile Chile's mining council, El Consejo Minero, recently released a study of the labour force which estimated the sector would need almost 30,000 new skilled workers in the next decade.