Peru's Role as a Major Player in Precious Metals Mining and Development

Peru has established itself as a significant contributor to the global mining industry, particularly in the production of precious metals. In 2017, it ranked as the world’s sixth-largest gold producer, surpassing all other Latin American countries. Additionally, Peru held the position of the second-largest silver producer globally, trailing only Mexico.

Peru’s gold production remained relatively stable in 2017, experiencing a marginal decrease of 1.2% compared to the previous year. The country’s total gold output reached 4.86 million troy ounces, with the Yanacocha mine contributing 535,700 ounces. Despite a continuous decline, Yanacocha, located in Cajamarca, remains Peru’s largest gold mine. The mine’s projected production for this year is around half a million ounces, and the implementation of the Quecher Main project is expected to extend its lifespan until 2027. The Quecher Main project, valued at $250 million to $300 million, will introduce new oxide output, with an estimated production of 200,000 ounces per year from 2020 to 2025.

Yanacocha operates as a joint venture between Newmont, Buenaventura, and Sumitomo. Buenaventura, apart from its share in Yanacocha’s production (233,400 ounces), also recorded an attributable production of 383,200 ounces from its other gold mines, including Tambomayo, Orcopampa, La Zanja, and Tantahuatay. Buenaventura’s CEO, Víctor Gobitz, anticipates increased production figures from Tambomayo and highlights the three-year debottlenecking project at the company’s main underground mines. By improving ventilation, dewatering, and backfilling processes, Buenaventura aims to enhance efficiency and extend mine cycles.

Other major gold producers in Peru include Barrick, Tahoe Resources, and Gold Fields. Barrick’s Lagunas Norte and Pierina mines combined to produce 508,700 ounces in 2017. Tahoe Resources recorded production of 275,000 ounces at its La Arena and Shahuindo mines, with plans for further expansion. Gold Fields’ Cerro Corona mine in Cajamarca yielded 166,000 ounces of gold, along with significant copper volumes. Cerro Corona’s mine life has been extended until 2030 through engineering innovations.

Peru’s silver production, although experiencing a slight decrease of 1.6% in 2017, remains significant. Buenaventura leads as the country’s largest silver producer, with 23.3 million ounces (excluding an additional 4 million ounces from El Brocal). Other major silver producers in Peru include Antamina, Volcan, and Hochschild Mining. Hochschild Mining produced 203,600 ounces of gold in Peru in 2017, with 165,000 ounces originating from its flagship asset, the Inmaculada mine. The company plans to increase production through the incremental expansions of its Pallancata mine.

Great Panther Silver is working on reopening the Coricancha mine in Peru, anticipating a production of 3.1 million ounces per year. Bear Creek Mining is progressing at the Corani silver deposit, a potentially transformative project for the company. With expected production of 12 million ounces per year during the initial six years, Corani presents both opportunities and risks.

Peru’s mining industry continues to evolve, with companies investing in expansions, debottlenecking projects, and efficiency improvements. The country’s rich reserves and ongoing developments position it as a prominent player in the global precious metals market.

You may also be interested in...