Central Bank’s Velarde Sees “Exceptional” Growth in 2015-16

As the global economy continues to struggle, Peru’s Central Bank president, Julio Velarde, says he sees “exceptional” growth for the Andean country in 2015 and 2016, boosted by the mining sector.

Following a presentation in New York, Velarde told state news agency Andina that “the growth in mining could give a boost to the growth in other sectors.”

Many mining projects have been delayed by opposition from rural communities and local politicians. However, Velarde said there are still a number of large-scale projects that are advancing, including Xstrata’s Antapaccay copper mine, scheduled to start production later this year, and Chinese-owned Chinalco’s Toromocho copper mine.

The portfolio of mining projects in Peru would require investments of more than $50 billion. However, about half of those investments have been impacted one way or another by social conflicts.

“The projects are there and I think it would really be a waste to not take advantage of the resources,” Velarde said.

Peru’s Central Bank forecasts that Peru’s gross domestic product will grow 6 percent this year and in 2013. In 2014, growth is seen at 6.3 percent, Velarde said.

Velarde was accompanied in New York by Economy and Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla, as well as First Lady Nadine Heredia and Foreign Relations Minister Rafael Roncagliolo.

Roncagliolo said that he met with his British counterpart, William Hague, who is also in New York for the UN’s General Assembly. The officials agreed to deepen ties between the two countries.

Earlier this year, Peru had a brief diplomatic rift with Britain over the South American country’s last minute decision to cancel a visit to the port of Callao by British navy frigate. The dispute was in a context of a broader conflict between Britain and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

South American countries, including Peru, have often supported Argentina’s claims to the islands, which were the subject of a war in 1982.

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