Peru’s La República newspaper reports that during the V Southern Mining Framework International Congress, Southern Copper (NYSE: SCCO) announced that it will invest $8 billion in its different projects in the country, including Tía María.
In October 2019, construction of the $1.4 billion Tía María project in the southern Islay province of the Arequipa region was allowed to go on, after being halted in August as regulators decided to evaluate objections from residents and regional authorities related to where the plant would be built.
They expressed worry about Tía María’s environmental impacts and the possibility of an open-pit mine damaging crops and water supplies.
The 2019 incident, however, wasn’t the first. Southern had to stop its construction plan twice before, in 2011 and 2015, due to fierce opposition by locals.
But as Peru’s presidential election gets closer, the topic of Tia María has been at the top of some candidates’ agendas, who are expressing views either in favour or against the project.
According to La República, Southern’s director of operations, Jorge Meza, said at the congress that the company is now working on a reviewed, basic conceptual engineering plan for the mine, with the goal of submitting it for approval by Grupo México’s board of directors in April. If approved, the plan will be later on presented to relevant authorities and local communities.
Besides Tía María, the Grupo Mexico subsidiary is working on the $2.5 billion Michiquillay and $2 billion Los Chancas projects and on expanding its smelter, a refinery in Ilo and the processing plant at its Cuajone mine in Moquegua so that it can increase production from 85,000 tonnes per day to 120,000.