Peru’s copper output continues to grow

China Minmetals’ Las Bambas mine in Peru.

Peru’s copper output jumped to 207,867 mt in July of 2016, an almost 30% growth from last year’s production of 155,313 million tonnes, recent data published by the country’s Energy and Mines Ministry shows (in Spanish).

The surge, said authorities, was driven by increased activity at different sites: Antamina, Freeport-McMoRan’s Cerro Verde mine, Glencore’s Antapaccay, Chinalco’s Toromocho, Hudbay Minerals’ Constancia deposit, and China Minmetals’ Las Bambas.

The latter has been gathering a lot of attention since it started commercial operation this year. The mine, located at 4,000 metres in the south of Peru, is set to deliver 400,000 tonnes of copper per year during the first five years of production, placing it within the top three copper mines globally. And this year alone, Las Bambas output should hit between 250,000 and 500,000 mt.

Since 2014, Peru has had its mind set on becoming the second largest producer of the industrial metal. The goal is to reach 2.8 million tonnes by the end 2016. Currently, the Andean country occupies the third spot after a 2015 output of 1.6 mt, behind Chile’s 5.7 mt and China’s 1.7 mt.

Since it is linked to copper-mining activities in southern areas, molybdenum production is also on the rise in Peru. The July output was of 2,466 mt, a spike of 56.9% compared to last year’s numbers.

Also on the positive side and compared to July 2015:

  • Tin grew by 10.15%
  • Iron grew by  1.01%
  • Lead grew by 0.49%

Gold and silver, however, were on the low side of things.

The yellow metal’s production slid 0.42% to 12,305 kg from 12,357 kg a year ago. Cumulative output by July 2016 reached 89 mt, which still signifies a growth rate of 6.23%.

Silver, on the other hand, fell 2.3% to 354,943 kg from 363,399 kg last year. Nevertheless, the January-July cumulative shows a 12.81% growth.

Zinc also showed a dramatic drop of 15.9% to 106,764 mt from 126,900 mt due to dwindling production at Antamina.