The improved y-o-y performance was led by Antamina, which is owned by BHP, Glencore, Teck and Mitsubishi and was responsible for 22% of the production; Aluminum Corporation of China’s Chinalco Peru, with 12.4% of the production; and Glencore’s Compañía Minera Antapaccay, with 0.4%.
Copper makes up for 4% of the South American country’s GDP. Thus, by year-end, the Minem expects copper production to reach 2.5 million tonnes, which would be a 16% increase compared to 2020.
When it comes to exports, copper grew by 21% in the first month of 2021 compared to the previous year. But the red metal wasn’t even close to being the best performer, as iron ore exports shot up by 132.4%, molybdenum by 76.4%, lead by 58%, and silver by 49.7%.
Overall, mining exports filled Peru’s coffers with $2.5 billion in January 2021, an 8% increase year-on-year.
Gold, on the other hand, fell both in exports and production. Exports dropped by 14.2% in January, while output was 25.5% below in February than what was registered in the same month last year.
According to the Ministry, lower production rates were the consequence of lower grades at Minera Yanacocha; covid-19-related restrictions for Minera Poderosa’s personnel, and lower volumes for Minera Aurífera Retamas. Together, these three companies are responsible for over 25% of Peru’s total gold production.
Active mines and projects
The Ministry of Energy and Mines also reported that, in February, 607 metallic and non-metallic mines were active, while 327 were in the exploration phase. Together, these operations occupy over 1.6 million hectares or 1.26% of Peru’s landmass.
In terms of mining projects, the Minem said 60 greenfield and brownfield mostly gold, copper, silver and zinc projects are in the exploration, phase with total investments adding up to $506 million.