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March 6, 2019
[Cable News] According to Reuters news, the Peruvian government may grant Southern Copper Corporation a construction permit for the $1.4 billion Tia Maria project before its environmental permit expires in August.
Southern Copper has spent several years waiting for a construction permit, the last level of Tia Maria, but has been rejected by successive governments for fear that it will again lead to the deadly protests that first destroyed the project in 2011.
If the company does not obtain a license before August, it may take at least a year for the government to review the new environmental impact study.
Southern Copper told investors earlier this month that it expects to get a license in "very short time."
“This is what we expect,” Peruvian Energy and Mining Minister Francisco Ismodes told Reuters when asked if it was possible to approve the permit in August, Francisco Ismodes added, “This is a priority for the government. So that it will be implemented in 2019."
The mine will produce 120,000 tons of high grade copper per year.
If Southern Copper builds the Tia Maria project, it would be rare to recover one of several mines that have been strongly opposed by the Peruvian opposition in the world's second-largest copper and zinc producer.
Southern Copper is closely watching the progress of the Tia Maria project. Southern Copper said it is a key driver of economic growth. The company has revised its projects to include local desalination plants in order to gain support from local people.
Ismodes said the government hopes to see more social acceptance and work closely with the company to ease the lingering opposition.
“We believe that social issues can be improved through the programs we are implementing,” Ismodes said. “Because it has a legal license, there is no guarantee that the project will be implemented within a positive social framework.”
Ismodes said that copper production in Peru this year could reach 2.51 million tons, up 3% from last year.
(This article is the first cable network www.cableabc.com reproduced.)