A fresh chapter for Southern Copper and Peru’s Tia Maria project

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Arequipa, Peru – After more than a decade of delays and setbacks, Southern Copper’s Tia Maria project is poised to break ground either by the end of this year or in the first half of 2025. This $1.4 billion mine project, nestled in Peru’s Islay province, could soon become a reality, marking a significant milestone for the company and the region.

Raul Jacob, Southern Copper’s Vice President of Finance, announced the optimistic timeline to Reuters. “Social conditions have improved after years of protest that had previously halted the mine’s development,” Jacob said. “We are fine-tuning details to be able to begin construction towards the end of this year or in the first part of next year,” he added, offering the first concrete start date in years for the much-anticipated project.

No More Red Tape

Jacob confirmed that there are no pending licenses or authorizations, and the company has maintained continuous engagement with local communities. This is a stark contrast to the project’s troubled past, where fears of environmental impact sparked fierce opposition, leading to deadly protests that claimed six lives between 2011 and 2015.

A Copper Giant’s Revival

Peru, the world’s second-largest exporter of copper, has been struggling to boost its production amidst competition from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The successful launch of Tia Maria, expected to yield 120,000 tons of copper annually, could provide the much-needed impetus to revitalize Peru’s economy, which has been mired in political unrest and economic instability.

In 2019, fresh protests led the government to suspend the mine’s construction license for 120 days, agreeing with Southern Copper to only proceed when social conditions were favorable. The recent developments suggest that these conditions have finally been met, paving the way for progress.

Economic Boost on the Horizon

Mining Minister Romulo Mucho emphasized the potential economic benefits of starting a new large-scale mining project like Tia Maria, which he believes could significantly boost Peru’s economy. With copper prices currently at record levels, the timing could not be better. Jacob highlighted that the project would benefit both the state and the local region, projecting a 20% increase in Southern Copper’s production in Peru this year, up from 374,149 tons last year.

Moving Forward

As the world watches, Southern Copper and Peru stand at the brink of a new chapter. With all necessary approvals in place and improved relations with local communities, Tia Maria is set to transform from a long-standing dream into a reality. This project not only promises to bolster Peru’s copper production but also aims to foster economic growth and stability in a region that has long been yearning for development.

(Source: MSN | Bloomberg)

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