Peru mining production to drop by 15% this year

The Yanacocha gold mine in Peru. Credit: Wikipedia

Production in Peru’s mining sector will fall by at least 15% this year, representing a loss in revenues of up to $5 billion, due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a top mining executive said on Wednesday.

Large-scale mining, which makes up 80% of Peru’s copper production, would not be fully up and running until early June, Victor Gobitz, general manager of mining company Buenaventura , said at a virtual news conference.

“Those should be the production levels that could be warning of production losses towards the end of the year,” Gobitz said.

Some Peruvian mining operations are partially operating after the government gradually eased restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. The sector will go through four phases of reactivation until August, the government has said.

Peru’s mining sector has been hit hard by the pandemic. The country has 129,751 confirmed cases of the virus – the second most in Latin America – with a death toll now around 3,788.

Gobitz said companies with underground mines will try to target high-grade areas “to make up for lost time.”

“I think that it will only be possible to regain full production levels in the third quarter,” Gobitz said.

(By Marco Aquino and Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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