Peru Sees Higher Copper, Zinc and Silver Production

Peru’s government is banking on an increase in copper, zinc and silver production this year, which would help support a rebound in a sluggish economy.

The director of mining at the Mines and Energy Ministry, Edgardo Alva, said that Peru should produce about 1.8 million tonnes of copper in 2015, which would be about 350,000 to 400,000 tonnes more than last year.

“This will be due to the start of production at the Constancia mine in the first quarter of this year and entering into operations the expansion of Cerro Verde, as well as the normalization of operations at Toromocho,” Alva told state news agency Andina.

The Constancia mine, owned by Canada’s HudBay Minerals, is located in the southern Cusco region. The Cerro Verde mine, majority owned by Freeport McMoRan, is one of Peru’s biggest copper producers and is currently undergoing a multibillion dollar expansion project. Meanwhile, the Chinese-owned Toromocho mine, located in the central Junin region, started production last year but has struggled to reach peak output due to technical issues.

Copper is a major driver of Peru’s economy, accounting for more than 20% of Peru’s overall exports, but export income has dropped as copper prices have seen a sharp fall in the past week.

Alva said that Peru’s other major export earner, gold, will likely maintain steady production in 2015 at about 141 tonnes.

Silver production is expected to rise 5% to 4,000 tonnes, Alva said, while zinc production is seen increasing to 160,000 tonnes.

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