Peru copper and gold output nosedives in H1 2020

The Antamina mine in Peru is one of the largest copper/zinc operations in the world. It restarted activities in May after a halt. (Image courtesy of Teck Resources).

Peru, a top global metals exporter, saw its output of copper, gold and zinc nosedive in the first half of 2020, ravaged by restrictions put in place to curb the coronavirus outbreak, the government said on Tuesday.

The world’s no. 2 copper producer said production of the red metal plunged 20.4% in the first half of 2020 versus the same period in 2019.

Gold production also fell 34.7% in the first six months of the year, while zinc output dropped off 23.7%, the country’s Energy and Mines ministry said in a statement.

The Peruvian government decreed a quarantine in mid-March with special restrictions on mining activity. The industry, a key economic engine for the Andean nation, began to gradually normalize operations in May.

The mines ministry reported copper production of 180,792 tonnes in June, 40.8% higher than the previous month as mines resumed production.

In June, gold production recovered 49.7% to 5,877,891 fine grams compared to May; while that of zinc jumped 313.6% to 119,174 tonnes.

Mine products represent 60% of Peru’s exports.

(By Marco Aquino and Dave Sherwood; Editing by Chris Reese and Sandra Maler)

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