Peru’s mining industry, the world’s third-largest copper and zinc producer, will invest 33 percent less than previously expected next year as social unrest delays projects, according to the country’s National Society of Mining, Petroleum & Energy.
Miners including Aluminum Corp. of China and HudBay Minerals Inc. will invest about $4 billion next year, compared with $6 billion planned previously and down from $7.2 billion this year, according to a presentation by the industry group. Protests and permit delays have also forced oil and gas companies to declare force majeure at 23 areas this year, up from 19 in 2011, the group’s report said.
“We’re worried by what’s happening,” the group’s president Pedro Martinez said today at a press conference in Lima. “If investment continues to be scared away, many mines will reach the end of their productive lives and there will nothing we can do about it.”
Newmont Mining Corp. postponed its $5 billion Minas Conga gold project following deadly protests by Andean farmers concerned the project will dry up water supplies. Southern Copper Corp., Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. and Bear Creek Mining Corp. have also suspended work on mining projects in the face of environmental opposition.
Output of copper, gold, silver, zinc, lead and tin fell for the past two years as aging mines deplete, according to the Energy & Mines Ministry. Zinc, iron and tin production fell in the first half.
Minerals, oil and natural-gas export revenue totaled $32 billion last year, accounting for 70 percent of Peru’s exports.