Las Bambas copper mine starts expansion work in supply boost

Concetta Cacciatore / Mayo 24, 2024 | 14:09
Preparations for mining at the new Chalcobamba pit have begun.

China’s MMG Ltd. is hopeful it can start digging copper from a new pit at its giant Las Bambas project in Peru by the end of this year, bringing some much-needed extra supply to a tightening global market, according to a Bloomberg report.

Las Bambas has for years operated well below its annual capacity of 400,000 tons due to a torrent of community protests that have disrupted mining and set back an expansion. That level could be reached in 2025, according to Troy Hey, an executive general manager at MMG.

“I would say that going into next year we’ll start to reach that kind of capacity of 350,000 to 400,000 tons,” Hey said in an interview. Preparations for mining at the new Chalcobamba pit have begun, he said.

Copper rocketed to a record this week amid growing fears that global mine supply will fail to keep up with ballooning demand from electric vehicles and renewable energy projects. The potential for shortages make it a good time for copper miners to expand output.

Las Bambas received a government permit to build Chalcobamba in 2022, but has been unable to begin construction due to community opposition. The two parties have now agreed to begin building so that local workers and companies can begin earning money now, although that still leaves a layer of uncertainty as details are ironed out.

“It’s fair to say that we spoke for many years about wanting a full comprehensive agreement updated before we started mining,” Hey said. The strategy has now shifted in consultation with the indigenous community of Huancuire that previously owned the land, he said.

Las Bambas produced 300,000 tons of copper last year and could produce up to 320,000 this year assuming the new pit begins operations in the second half, Hey said.

If you are going to use content from our newspaper (texts or simply data) in any media, blog or Social Networks, indicate the source, otherwise you will be committing a crime punishable by Law No. 17,336, on Intellectual Property. The above does not apply to photographs and videos, since their reproduction for informational purposes is totally PROHIBITED.
Did you find an error in the news?