Peru’s copper production up nearly 7% despite social unrest

The increase in copper and silver production was partly due to the start of operations at Marcobre’s $1.6 billion Mina Justa open pit mine in July.

Around 80% of copper production, Peru’s main export, came from Antamina (20%), Southern Copper (17.3%), Cerro Verde (18.2%), Las Bambas (12.6%) and Chinalco (10.3%).

The main gold producing operations last year were Minera Poderosa and Minera Yanacocha, according to the report.

Protests against mining companies have skyrocketed since President Pedro Castillo took office in July.

The socialist leader brought to power pleaded

to strike a new agreement with the copper mining sector and redistribute the benefits to Andean communities such as those around Antamina, MMG’s Las Bambas and Glencore’s Antapaccay.

The country’s National Mining, Petroleum and Energy Corporation, an industry body, said most protesters were demanding action to restrict mining in the headwaters of a basin, unaware that such areas are already protected by the Water Resources Act.

Supply issues

Social unrest in the country’s mining areas has heightened global concerns around a looming shortage of copper, seen as a key metal in the global transition to greener technologies.

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The CRU Group estimates that the copper industry needs to spend more than $100 billion to fill what could be an annual shortage of 4.7 million tonnes by 2030.

Used in everything from building materials to batteries and motors, copper is both an economic indicator and a key ingredient in the push for renewable energy and electric vehicles.

If producers do not address the shortfall, prices will continue to rise and pose a challenge to world leaders, who are counting on a global energy transition to fight climate change.

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