China’s Chinalco, the country’s main mining company, has inked a preliminary deal with Peru’s government to expand Toromocho copper mine, the Asian nation’s largest overseas copper project.
The move is part of a series of agreements signed this week that will see China pouring close to $5.3 billion into Peru’s mining and energy sector, Andina news agency reported.
Chinalco is expected to inject $1.3 billion into Toromocho in the upcoming months.
A similar agreement was reached with Zhongrong Xinda Group Co. to finance Hierro Pampa de Pongo mining project in Arequipa, with an investment close to $1.5 billion.
Peru also signed a third pact with Xiamen Zijin Tongguan Investment Development Corporation, for a $2.5 billion additional investment in the Rio Blanco copper project.
The massive investments are expected to consolidate Peru as the world’s second largest copper producer, behind Chile, Carlos Galvez, president of the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy (SNMPE) said (in Spanish).
Figures from the association show that Peru’s copper production would reach 2.5 million tonnes by the end of 2016, displacing China from the second place as the Asian nation’s output is expected to hit only 1.6 million tonnes, while Chile will close the year at 5.8 million.
Toromocho began operations in 2013 and produced 31,407 tonnes of copper and 5,500 tonnes of zinc in the first quarter of this year.
The Junin province-based project has not been exempt of issues, mostly related to pollution concerns and strikes by workers demanding higher wages, the latest of which took place in May this year.