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New project approval should allow Peru to produce four million tonnes of copper annually

The Peruvian Minister of Energy and Mines, Rómulo Mucho, announced the approval of the technical report for the $600-million expansion project at the Cerro Verde copper mine.

Located in the southwestern Arequipa region, Cerro Verde accounts for nearly 19% of Peru’s copper and 34% of its molybdenum production. It operates one of the world’s largest concentrating facilities, with an average milling rate exceeding 400,000 metric tons of ore per day. The mine is primarily owned by Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX), with 53.56% ownership, while SMM Cerro Verde Netherlands—a subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining Company—owns 21%, Compañia de Minas Buenaventura holds 19.58%, and other shareholders own 5.86%.

Cerro Verde aims to achieve an average mill production rate of 420,000 metric tons of ore per day by 2026, continuing through 2044. Mining activities are projected to conclude in 2052 when the current reserves are depleted.

Minister Mucho highlighted that this expansion, along with the development of other projects such as Panoro Minerals’ (TSXV: PML) Cotabambas, Regulus Resources’ (TSXV: REG) Antakori, Newmont’s (NYSE: NEM) Conga and Galeno, Rio Tinto (NYSE, ASX: RIO) and First Quantum Minerals’ (TSE: FM) La Granja, and Southern Copper’s (NYSE: SCCO) Michiquillay, will enable Peru to produce four million tonnes of copper per year, approaching Chile’s production levels.

In gold project developments, Mucho announced the approval of a modified environmental impact assessment for the Tantahuatay project, operated by Compañía Minera Coimolache. Buenaventura (BMV: BVNN) holds 40% of the project, Southern Copper (NYSE: SCCO) owns 44%, and ESPRO, a private company, owns 16%. Tantahuatay is a heap leach gold-silver operation in the northwestern Cajamarca region, targeting the oxide cap of a substantial copper-gold sulphide resource.

Addressing the Energy and Mines Commission of the Peruvian Congress, Mucho also mentioned the impending approval of the Pucamarca gold project in the southern Tacna province, operated by Minsur, which is owned by Breca, one of Peru’s leading investment groups.

“The Ministry of Energy and Mines promotes sustainable mining projects because mining is the backbone of our economy,” Mucho stated. “This activity generates significant resources that facilitate infrastructure and electrification projects, improving the quality of life for our citizens.”

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