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Candente Looking to Expand $1.5 Billion Peru Copper Project

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Candente Copper Corp., a Canadian exploration company, expects to make new discoveries next year at its $1.5 billion Peruvian copper deposit, as it seeks to expand its operations.

Candente is waiting for a water permit to complete a $30 million feasibility study for its Canariaco project in the northern Andes, Chief Executive Officer Joanne Freeze said today in an interview in Lima. Canariaco Norte, one of three deposits in the company’s concession, is feasible at a copper price as low as $2.25 per pound, Freeze said.

“We also plan to be drilling at Canariaco Sur and Quebrada Verde, where we could be making new discoveries,” Freeze said today from the company’s Vancouver headquarters. “We should get these permits fairly soon, as I have no reason to think it would be another three months.”

Peru, the world’s third-largest copper producer, has lined up $53 billion in mining projects over the next decade in a bid to double output, according to the National Society of Mining, Petroleum & Electricity, an industry group. Candente is holding talks with prospective buyers for its Canariaco project, Freeze said, without naming them.

Extra resources would improve ore grades at the start of the operation and extend the life of the mine, Freeze said.

‘Terrible Markets’

Candente, which split off other copper and gold exploration areas in separate share sales, raised $30 million last year to fund its feasibility study.

“Markets are terrible, so we don’t plan to raise money right now,” Freeze said. “Once you have feasibility done, that’s when the next raise would be.”

Candente was unchanged at 27 Canadian cents today in Toronto.

Copper futures for March delivery slipped 0.1 percent to settle at $3.6555 a pound on the Comex in New York. The metal rose 3.4 percent in the prior three sessions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Emery in Lima at aemery1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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