Production at Peru’s copper mines in January increased 40.6% over the same month in 2015.
Led by Cusco’s Constancia and Junin’s Toromocho mines, Peru produced 157,328 tons of copper in January. The expansion of Arequipa’s Cerro Verde mine, which resulted in doubling the southern state’s regional production, also fueled the surge.
The Cerro Verde mine led Arequipa to surpass Ancash as Peru’s leading copper-producing region. Arequipa produced 36,676 tons, or 23.3% of the national total, compared to Ancash’s 32,751 tons. Production in Cusco increased 71.8% to 24,385 tons led by Glencore’s Antapaccay and Hudbay Peru.
“Peru finished last year strengthening its position in global copper extraction, competing with China for second place in the production of this important metal,” Marcos Villegas, the mining director of Peru’s mining and energy ministry, told Andina. “This year we will definitely surpass the Asian country with operations at Las Bambas and Cerro Verde reaching 100%.”
Peru’s production of 1.7 million tons of copper in 2015 represented a 23% increase from 2014, while production in China fell slightly. And while investment in new mines and expanding existing mines is projected to continue to increase Peru’s capacity, Chinese miners are cutting back.
A press release from the mining and energy ministry said that the Las Bambas mine in Apurimac, which will become the world’s second largest, is forecast to produce 250,000 to 300,000 tons in 2016 before reaching full production capacity of 400,000 tons in 2017.
Production of silver increased by 8.0% to 333,086 kilograms, a level which would also surpass China for the world’s second producer if sustained.
Despite decreases in the Lagunas Norte and Yanacocha mines, gold production increased 3.2% behind a 146% spike in production from illegal mines in Madre de Dios.
Lead production grew 1.7% while zinc fell 9.9% from 113,439 tons to 102,250. The press release cited zinc production fell 15.7% in Pasco and 19.4% in Ancash due to lower output at the Antamina mine.
PRODUCCIÓN NACIONAL DE COBRE CRECIÓ 40.61% EN ENERO DE 2016 RESPECTO A LO REPORTADO EN EL AÑO PREVIO (Ministerio de Energía y Minas)