Peru’s copper output slightly up

Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines revealed this week that the country’s copper production rose by 5.42% in February compared to the same month last year. Overall growth for the first two months of 2017 reached 14.76%.

According to the Ministry’s release, the surge was driven by increased activity at two sites: Freeport-McMoRan's (NYSE:FCX) Cerro Verde, which accounted for 22.38% or 83,844 fine metric tons of the national production, and MMG’s Las Bambas whose production was of 73,644 FMT or 19.66% of the total output.

Despite the total of 178,283 tons of the red metal produced in February, Reuters reports that this is the slowest growth rate in two years. Peru is currently dealing with infrastructure damage and focusing resources on emergency relief efforts following torrential rains that caused massive flooding.

But the Andean country still remains the world's second-biggest copper supplier after it broke a production record of 2.35 million tons in 2016. In fact, the latest report by the International Copper Study Group revealed that last year's rise in global copper production was mainly driven by a 38% (650,000 tonnes copper) hike in Peruvian concentrate output.

Zinc also saw positive numbers at the beginning of 2017. Peru’s numbers show that, due to a rise of 62.78% at Antamina’s mine, the country’s total output rose by 1.92% in February compared to the same period the year before.

When it comes to gold, however, the story is a completely different one. The official information shows that, compared to February of 2016, gold production fell 11.91% to 11,676,057 grams. Silver also went down by 11.29% to 325,925 kilograms.

Mining accounts for about 65% of Peru’s export earnings.