Home Web timeline Peruvian prime minister stirs controversy with mining sector by ruling out schedule extensions

Peruvian prime minister stirs controversy with mining sector by ruling out schedule extensions

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Vasquez had said the government would help negotiate the terms of the closure of four mines that have been affected by community protests in recent weeks.

“We will close the mines as soon as possible,” Vasquez said, according to a government press release. “There will be no extensions, whether for mining, exploration or even closure.”

PM Mirtha Vasquez said the government would help negotiate the terms of the closure of four mines that have been affected by community protests in recent weeks

Two of them belong to Hochschild Mining; the other two are smaller operations.

The remarks sparked a furious backlash from the mining industry on Saturday, with executives saying that even though the mines were to officially close soon, they hoped to extend those deadlines.

“We do not intend to shut down our activities. In fact, we plan to continue investing, ”said Ignacio Bustamante, who heads Compania Minera Ares, a subsidiary of Hochschild.

Under Peruvian law, all mines have a scheduled closure date, although those dates can be changed if regulators allow.

The feud is the latest controversy between the left-wing administration led by President Pedro Castillo and the mining industry. Peru is the world’s second largest producer of copper and mining tax revenues represent a significant portion of the country’s finances.

Castillo came to power in July, at a time when community protests targeted several large mining operations, including massive copper mines like Antamina, co-owned by Glencore and BHP Billiton, as well as Las Bambas of MMG Ltd. .

The mining industry has criticized Castillo for what it sees as an administration that is too permissive with protesters.

“We legitimize violence as a justified measure of social pressure,” said Raul Jacob, president of the Peruvian Mining, Energy and Petroleum Company.

Jacob is also the CFO of Southern Copper Corp.

(Report by Marcelo Rochabrun; edited by Jonathan Oatis).