Nexa Resources in talks to sell Peru copper project

Cerro Lindo is Peru’s largest underground zinc mine. (Image courtesy of Nexa Resources.)

Latin America-focused Nexa Resources (NYSE: NEXA), which operates the largest underground zinc mine in Peru, Cerro Lindo, is in talks to sell its Pukaqaqa copper project in the Andean country.

The miner said in a note to the local securities regulator (SMV) this week that it was involved in “ongoing negotiations linked to a possible sale of the Pukaqaqa mining project.” 

Pukaqaqa, valued at nearly $655 million, is a copper-gold deposit expected to be mined through a conventional open pit and produce copper and molybdenum concentrates. The project is located in the central highlands of Peru at an altitude of over 4,000 metres and it is among Nexa Resources’ several projects without a date set for starting construction.

According to company’s estimates, the deposit has 83 million tonnes of measured and indicated resources and 74 million tonnes of inferred resources, or 157 million tonnes of resources in total.

The zinc producer, controlled by Brazilian holding company Votorantim SA, estimated in 2018 that Pukaqaqa would begin operations in 2023, but local opposition to the project has delayed a construction decision. 

Nexa also has a portfolio of 10 exploration projects in Peru totalling almost $60 million.

The company currently owns and operates five underground mines — three located in the Central Andes of Peru and two located in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. It also operates three smelters, two in Brazil and one in Cajamarquilla, east of Lima, which is considered the largest smelter in the Americas and among the world’s top five.

Peru is the world’s no. 2 copper producer after Chile and an important producer of zinc.

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