Peru Copper Project Pipeline
Peru has been an exciting market for mining suppliers in the last few years. The market is less saturated than Chile in terms of overall competition and the miners are very much open to new technology and initiatives. It is not uncommon anymore to see new entrants to the Latin American mining market skip over Chile and head directly to Peru to introduce their products and services.
Peru is the second-largest producer of copper in the world and is amongst the top four producers of silver, lead, zinc, tin, and molybdenum. It is also a leading producer of gold. Peru’s high rates of production have attracted $42bn of inbound investment into the mining sector between 2011 and 2015. Energy and Mines Minister, Francisco Ismodes, said in April that Peru’s mining industry has lined up US$58 billion in investment projects, with work expected to start this year on projects worth US$12 billion.
Southern Copper – Toquepala
Currently under construction – The US$1.2 billion expansion of the Toquepala concentrator plant has suffered delays but is due for completion by September this year.
Southern Copper – Cuajone Mine
Southern´s Cuajone Mine is expected to bring online in 2018, the US$216 million, 7km conveyor belt, 43.8Mt/y crusher, and a US$30mn tailings thickener.
Southern Copper -Michiquillay
The company was awarded the project last February. At the time, the company said it hopes to start building the US$2.5 billion copper mine next year, with operations to start in 2022. The company is currently negotiating with local residents which they expect to take one year and then 3 years to construct the mine, Michiquillay will yield 225,000 tonnes of copper a year for an initial productive life of more than 25 years.
Anglo American – Quellaveco
It was recently announced that the 225,000t/y project has been approved and will move forward. The price tag is expected to be between $5bn-$5.3bn. Anglo has already invested US$1 billion in Quellaveco. In June, Anglo agreed to sell 21.9% of the asset to current JV partner Mitsubishi for US$600 million bringing Mitsubishi’s interest to 40%, while Anglo American will retain 60%.
There is potential for Quellaveco to expand beyond its current 30-year reserve life, as well as to increase throughput above the initial capacity of 127,500t per day. The company expects the project to deliver the first copper in 2022 before it is ramped-up to full production in 2023.
Minsur – Mina Justa
The company plans to start work on its US$1.6 billion, 100,000t/y Mina Justa copper project in the last quarter of the year once a feasibility study has been approved. Construction will last through 2019, with commissioning to start at the end of 2019 and operations ramping up through 2020. Earlier this year, the company agreed to sell a 40% stake in the project to Copec.
Minsur – San Rafael
The San Rafael mine will be extended with a US$200 million B2 tin tailings project. The 5,000t/y project will treat 7.6Mt of 1.05% grade tin tailings over a nine-year period.
Milpo – Magistral copper project
A Preliminary Economic Assessment was released on August 2017. This study confirms for this mine a conventional open pit mine and a 30kt/d ore conventional concentrator producing copper and moly concentrates. The life stripping ratio is 1.5:1 and the copper concentrate is expected to have on average 26% Cu and 0.25%As. The company has stated that is working on engineering studies this year and is still on track for startup in 2019.
Chinalco – Toromocho
The company has committed to starting work on the long-delayed US$1.4 billion expansion of its Toromocho copper-silver mine. The expansion includes increasing the mine’s concentrator by 45% to 172,000t/d from 117,000t/d. It is expected to be completed by 2020. Chinalco will see the value of production reportedly exceed $2 billion with an annual production of up to 300,000 tonnes. Toromocho represents one of the largest copper reserves in Peru, with an estimated reserve of 1.52 billion tonnes.
Southern Peaks Mining – Ariana
The US$120 million Ariana copper-zinc project is expected to start construction this year. Ariana is forecasted to provide additional production of 14kt copper-equivalent per annum by year end 2021. EIA approval and community agreements are in place.
A number of early-stage midsize copper projects are in line for development in the next few years according to the ministry, although none has investment approval, including Pukaqaqa, Rondoni, Cañariaco, and Cotabambas.
Peru, without a doubt, will continue to grow its project portfolio. The potential for mining development in the country is vast thanks to a large reserve base, while less than 10% of the country’s 1.29-million-square-kilometer territory has been explored. From a mining suppliers perspective, the country has a good mixture of underground and open pit mines which will require a significant amount of technology, equipment, and services.
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