MAC: Mines and Communities

Peruvians don't like the taste of Southern's Tia Maria

Published by MAC on 2009-10-05
Source: Dow Jones, Reuters (2009-09-28)

Later this month, a US judge will rule which of two mining companies should be allowed to take over US copper conglomerate, Asarco.

Yet another court recommendation was made last week in favour of Grupo Mexico, over Vedanta Resources plc.

One of Grupo Mexico's main motivations for acquiring Asarco is to wipe out a massive debt, incurred when it illegally "asset stripped" Asarco's Southern Copper Corp seven years ago.

An Asarco takeover would open the way for the Mexican outfit, through its holding in Southern, to exploit the latter's rich Peruvian copper assets. See: http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=9473

Grupo Mexico looks like winning the battle against Vedanta.

But it will then have a struggle, persuading the 90% of local people who recently voting against its Tia Maria project in Peru, that it's a force for good.

ESPAÑOL

Peru Locals Vote Against Southern Copper's Tia Maria

By Robert Kozak, Dow Jones

28 September 2009

LIMA - A number of local communities on Sunday voted against allowing Southern Copper Corp. (PCU) to open a copper mine in southern Peru. The non-binding "consultation" was held in several communities in the area where Southern Copper plans to open the Tia Maria mine.

Newspaper La Republica said that more than 90% of 3,131 residents of the rural district of Cocachacra, in the state of Arequipa, voted against the mine project or the use of underground water for the project.

Newspaper El Comercio said that a majority of those who voted in four other districts also said they were against the project.

El Comercio quoted the mayor of one of the districts, Richard Ale Cruz, as saying that the vote results should be respected. "If not then there will be protests that the mayors themselves will lead them," he said.

Southern Copper is planning to begin construction in early 2010 on the project and to start producing in 2012.

A company official said Monday that only about 30% of the total population of the areas voted, and that the results weren't that significant.

The official said they expect the project to proceed normally.

The mine is expected to produce 120,000 tons annually of the red metal.

There have been at least two other non-binding votes organized by local communities opposed to mining projects in other areas of Peru in recent years.

At a recent mining conference in Arequipa, Deputy Mines Minister Fernando Gala said that the government wants Southern Copper to resolve the conflict over the $950 million project before it obtains government permits to begin work there.

Southern Copper's chief executive, Oscar Gonzales, told reporters at the same mining conference earlier this month that he expects the government to grant it the required permits this year, and that the company will use technical data to try to convince local residents that the extraction of subterranean waters is a viable approach.

Southern Copper operates mines, smelting and refining facilities in Mexico and Peru.


Southern Copper seeks peace for Tia Maria project in Peru

Via Reuters

18 September 2009

Southern Copper hopes to reach a deal with community groups so that its Tia Maria project in Peru can go forward after residents denounced it.

Southern controlled by Grupo Mexico said that a presentation it gave in late August to present an environmental impact study was disrupted by a group of community residents who threw chairs and tables during the meeting.

Tia Maria USD 950 million project would boost Southern's output by some 120,000 tonnes per year starting in mid 2011. Some residents worry the mine would pollute water that feeds farms or deplete underground water resources.

Mr Oscar Gonzalez CEO of Southern Copper said that "We are going to talk with mayors and residents to convince them that there won't be any impact. We've invested USD 300 million or USD 400 million in Tia Maria. We think the conflict should not be a problem so long as people from other areas don't go there to try to impede it."

Mr Gonzalez said that the company plans to tap underground water supplies near the project in the region of Arequipa and for the time being has rejected requests to rely on desalinated water from the Pacific Ocean. Sea water would have to be pumped up thousands of miles into the Andes.

He said that 40 million cubic meters of underground water are lost or not put to use in the region near the project each year. We would only use 7 million of this more than 40 million that flow to the sea."

The company said that Tia Maria has resources of 638 million tonnes with a copper grade of between 0.3% and 0.43%.

Mr Gonzalez said that the company is continuing with its feasibility study for Los Chancas, a copper and molybdenum project in the region of Apurimac in Peru. He said details on the cost of the project and whether it is viable would be ready early 2010.


Peru Pushes Southern Copper To Get Community OK For Tia Maria

Dow Jones

15 September 2009

AREQUIPA - Peru's government is pushing Southern Copper Corp. (PCU) to smooth tensions with the local community that opposes its use of subterranean water for its Tia Maria copper project.

Peru's deputy mining minister, Fernando Gala, said Tuesday that the government wants Southern Copper to resolve the conflict over the $934 million project in southern Peru before it obtains government permits to begin work there.

"If they communicate well, I don't see that there will be a problem," Gala told reporters on the sidelines of an international mining conference in the southern city of Arequipa. "Tia Maria is a very important project."

He said the company failed to give the local community adequate information about its plan, and that the ministry has asked the company to hold more public hearings with area residents.

Peruvian law doesn't require the local communities' approval, but Gala said the government is pushing the company to reach an accord with residents. "We want an agreement," he said.

Arequipa's regional president has suggested that Southern Copper use desalination of water from the Pacific Ocean for its operations at Tia Maria, which the company is aiming to bring into production in mid-2011.

The mine is expected to produce 120,000 tons annually of the red metal.

Southern Copper's chief executive, Oscar Gonzales, told reporters at the conference Tuesday that he expects the government to grant it the required permits by October. "We're going to use technical data to try to convince (them) that the extraction of subterranean waters is more viable," Gonzales said.

Southern Copper operates mines in Mexico and Peru.

Home | About Us | Companies | Countries | Minerals | Contact Us
© Mines and Communities 2013. Web site by Zippy Info