Friday, July 19, 2024

Peru Greenlights $2 Billion Expansion for Antamina Mine, Aims to Boost Copper Production


Peru Approves $2 Billion Expansion for Major Copper Mine

In a significant development for Peru’s mining sector, the country’s environmental watchdog has authorized a substantial expansion of the Antamina mine, the largest producer of copper and zinc in Peru. This $2 billion expansion is poised to extend the mine’s productive life by eight years, from 2028 to 2036.

The mine is a joint venture between four global mining giants: Glencore, Teck Resources, BHP, and Mitsubishi. The expansion was made possible through the approval of a Modification of the Environmental Impact Study (MEIA), permitting changes to the mine’s existing structure. Key modifications include the expansion of the open pit, alongside optimization efforts for the mine’s dumps and tailings dam.

Víctor Gobitz, the Chief Executive of Antamina, expressed the significance of the MEIA, stating it marks a crucial milestone not just for Antamina but for the entire Peruvian mining industry. “It broadens our horizon and allows us to continue working hand in hand with the authorities and communities,” he remarked.

As part of the expansion plan, Antamina’s pit will be deepened by 150 meters and the mine area increased by 25%. This will facilitate an extraction rate of up to 173,000 tonnes of ore per day and a waste movement of approximately 742,000 tonnes daily. Additionally, the primary ore crusher station will be upgraded with a new rock crusher, and the dam’s storage capacity will be expanded to 1.57 billion tonnes, up from the current capacity of 1.1 billion tonnes.

This permit comes in the wake of a recent meeting between executives from the largest mining companies in Peru and the country’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Oscar Vera. The discussion centered around the benefits of a new digital initiative aimed at accelerating the permitting process, highlighting the industry’s commitment to innovation and efficiency.

Mining is a cornerstone of the Peruvian economy, representing 8.5% of the country’s GDP. Copper and gold stand out as the most significant mineral exports in terms of value. According to data from GlobalData, Peru was the world’s second-largest copper producer as of 2022, with projections suggesting a steady growth in production at a compound annual growth rate of 6% from 2022 to 2026. This expansion within the mining sector coincides with robust economic growth in Peru, which saw its GDP increase by 13.6% in 2021 and an expected growth rate of around 2.9% in 2023.

While Peru continues to expand its open-pit mining operations, a contrasting stance is observed in other parts of South America. Notably, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has advocated for a ban on open-pit mining across Mexico, voicing concerns over the environmental impact of such practices.

The decision to greenlight the expansion of the Antamina mine underscores Peru’s ambition to cement its position as a global leader in copper production. It also reflects the nation’s commitment to fostering economic growth through strategic investments in its mining sector, balancing industrial advancement with community and environmental considerations.

Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett is a seasoned business journalist with over a decade of experience covering the global economy, finance, and corporate strategies. With a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's in Business Journalism from Columbia University, Alexandra has built a reputation for her insightful analysis and ability to break down complex economic trends into understandable narratives. Prior to joining our team, she worked for major financial publications in New York and London. Alexandra specializes in mergers and acquisitions, market trends, and economic

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