SNMPE: Peru is world’s second largest copper producer

The National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy, or Snmpe, said Tuesday Peru displaced the United States as the worlds second largest copper producer last year, up from third place in 2008.

Peru’s copper production totalled 1.27 million metric tons in 2009, similar to its output in 2008, state news agency Andina reported the president of Snmpe, Hans Flury, as saying. Copper output in the United States, the second largest producer in 2008 with an output of 1.31 million MT, dropped to 1.19 million MT. Chile was the world’s biggest copper producer, with output at 5.33 million MT last year.

“Peru, after Chile, is the world’s second largest copper producer, and we hope to maintain this important position as a mining producing country,” Flury said.

Other large copper producers in 2009 include China at 960,000 MT, Indonesia at 950,000 MT, Australia at 900,000 MT and Russia at 750,000 MT.

Peru is also among the world’s largest producers of gold, zinc and silver. Flury said the country’s zinc output totalled 1.5 million MT in 2009, silver production was 3.85 million kilograms and gold’s was 182 MT.

A report published Monday by Scotiabank says Peru’s total mineral production in 2009 dropped by 1.4 percent, Andina reported. The main factors for the decline were the closing of the Iscaycruz zinc and lead mine run by Peruvian miner Los Quenales and the decision by Peru’s Volcan mining company to reduce production at its operations in Cerro de Pasco.

“The production of new projects was compensated by closing some operation and the reorientation of some industrial metal miners to extraction in zones that contain more precious metals,” Scotiabanks Juan Pablo Ramos was quoted as saying.

The report expects mineral production to increase by only 1 percent in 2010.

Mining production is expected to increase after 2010. Flury, from the Snmpe, said investment in Peru’s mining sector is expected to total $35 billion within the next seven years, daily El Comercio reported.

Significant investment in Peru’s mining sector, however, is not expected until 2012.

“There won’t be an important expansion of mineral supply until 2012 when they consolidate the current expansions for mineral production and initiation the operations of La Zanja, Tantahuatay, and Tia Maria,” Ramos said.

The La Zanja gold mine is located in Peru’s northern Cajamarca department. It is a joint venture by Peru’s Buenaventura mining company and Colorado-based Newmont. The Tantahuatay gold-silver mine is also located in Cajamarca and co-owned by Buenaventura and Arizona-based Souther Copper Corporation (SCC). The Tia Maria copper mine is located in Peru’s southern Arequipa department and owned by SCC.

Important mining projects in 2013 include the Aluminum Corporation of China’s, or Chinalco, Toromocho copper mining project – located in Junín – which has an estimated copper reserve of more than 7.3 million tonnes. Chinalco expects to invest $2.15 billion in the project.

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