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Newmont open to new partner to expand Yanacocha gold mine in Peru

Yanacocha is South America’s largest gold mine. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Newmont Mining Corp’s (NYSE:NEM), the world’s 2nd largest gold producer by output, is open to bringing a new partner into a project to expand its Yanacocha mine in Peru, South America’s largest gold operation, which is nearing the end of its life.

The Denver-based miner, which is working with its current partner Buenaventura on a possible project to extend Yanacocha’s life to 2025, said it is also studying a long-term project to produce copper sulphides, Gestión reports (in Spanish) quoting an interview by Bloomberg TV to CEO Gary Goldberg .

The company is working with local partner Buenaventura on a possible project to extend Yanacocha’s life, South America’s largest gold mine.

The company, which recently booked a $970 million impairment charge related to closure costs of the massive mine, had planned to replace Yanacocha’s production with output from the nearby Conga copper and gold mine, but years of local opposition including violent protests in 2011, led the company to abandon the $5 billion project last year.

While the miner acknowledged that local opposition was an important factor in their decision, a spokesman noted there were many other factors involved.

“At the end of the day, our decision to reclassify Conga’s reserves as resources was a business decision triggered by certain operating and construction permits expiring at the end of 2015, uncertain prospects for future development and permitting and market conditions,” he told at the time.

Yanacocha, which began production in 1993, is situated between 3,500 and 4,100 meters above sea level in the province and department of Cajamarca, approximately 800 km northeast of Peru’s capital, Lima.

Its potential expansion, dubbed Quecher Main, would allow it to generate about 200,000 ounces of gold per year between 2020 and 2025, Newmont said when reporting fulll 2016 results last week.

A decision on such project is expected in the second half of 2017 with first production in 2019, the company added.

The operation is a joint venture between Newmont (51.35%), Minas Buenaventura (43.65%) and the International Finance Corporation (5%).