MAC: Mines and Communities

Chinese copper mine halts operations in Peru over pollution claim

Published by MAC on 2014-04-03
Source: Reuters

Chinese copper mine halts operations in Peru over pollution claim


30 March 2014

Chinalco Mining has shut down operations at its Toromocho copper mine in Peru after the country's environmental regulator found that it was contaminating two lakes.

The regulator said the company was generating "acidic effluent" in the lakes high in the Andes in the district of Morococha, 150 kilometres east of Lima, where the open pit mine is located. It issued a statement later on Saturday saying that the company had complied with its order to stop discharging the waste.

A source at the company said: "We carried out the order on Friday when it was communicated to us. Operations are suspended."

The company would investigate and take action in the next few days, the source added.

The contamination was discovered during inspections two weeks ago, the regulator said. "This preventative measure seeks to mitigate the environmental impact that is being generated by the emptying of effluents from the West waste deposit into the lakes and from a drainage system" into one of the lakes, it said.

A video on the regulator's web page viewed by government workers appeared to show yellowish water running down a hillside into a blue lake.

Chinalco Mining controls the Toromocho Project in the centre of the South American country, one of the largest pre-production copper plants in the world.

Toromocho began operations in December after investing US$4.8 billion in the mine.

It is expected to produce around 300,000 tonnes of copper annually when running at full capacity.

Peru is the world's second biggest copper producer.

Chinalco partially resumes operations at Peru copper mine


7 April 2014

LIMA -China's Chinalco Mining Corp partially resumed output at its new Toromocho copper mine in Peru on Friday after suspending all operations for a week to comply with a government order that cited the company for pollution, a company spokesman said.

State-owned Chinalco halted all operations at the open-pit copper mine in Peru's central highlands last Friday after the environmental regulator, OEFA, demanded it stop dumping waste into two nearby lakes.

OEFA released footage of yellowish liquids gushing into an Andean lake.

Alvaro Barrenechea, manager of corporate affairs for Chinalco in Peru, said the government gave the company the green light to restart some activities at Toromocho, which started production for the first time late last year.

"It's a partial restart," said Barrenechea by telephone. "We are producing partially because the measure does not apply to part of the operations."

Toromocho, finished last year after a $4.8 billion investment, is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of copper per year once it reaches full capacity late this year.

The mine will likely raise Peru's annual copper output by 25 percent to 1.6 million tonnes.

Peru is the third-biggest copper exporter.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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