Newmont mulls taking Peru’s Conga money elsewhere

The world’s number two gold producer, Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), said it remains committed to resuming its $4.8 billion gold-copper Conga project in Peru, but stressed that is willing to reprioritize and reallocate capital to development alternatives in other countries such as Australia, Ghana, Indonesia and the U.S.

In its 2012 Annual report, the Denver-based company added that spending on the project will be reduced in 2013, while focusing on building water reservoirs, completing the last engineering activities, and accepting delivery of the main equipment purchases.

Construction at the debated mine, in partnership with local miners Buenaventura and Minera Yanacocha, has been suspended for over a year after violent protests and blockades routes in and out of Cajamarca forced the government to declare a state of emergency.

Newmont recently announced that it would nevertheless spend $150 million on Conga this year.

The mining project, designed basically as an extension of nearby dying Yanacocha, is set to begin production in early 2015 and it will generate up to 350,000 ounces of gold and 120 million pounds of copper per annum with a 19-year life of mine.

Image courtesy of Canatur