New Hudbay Peru project inches closer to production

Hudbay’s second mine in Peru will see delays in opening, but the company’s CEO anticipates the project will open early next year.

The company originally planned on beginning mine operations at Pampacancha late this year. The Pampacancha deposit is located in southern Peru, not far from the site of Hudbay’s existing Constancia mine.

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In an interview with Mining.com, Hudbay CEO Peter Kukielski said the delay was due to COVID-19 concerns and ongoing consultations with Indigenous communities near the mine. In another interview in May with Mining Weekly, Kukielski said he expected the project to be delayed.

“We think that the government will be very motivated to get it done, but it is a process that requires reasonably intensive human contact and so we think that there certainly will be a little bit of a lag once the state of emergency is lifted," Kukielski said to Reuters.

Hudbay was able to reach a surface rights agreement for the project from local authorities last February. According to Mining Weekly, Hudbay anticipates spending $70 million on the project this year alone.

“It utilizes Constancia’s infrastructure and when it is in full production we expect to produce over 100,000 tonnes of copper from our Peru business,” said Kukielski to Mining.com.

Over the past year, mine projects in Peru, including Constancia, have been disrupted due to protests from environmental and Indigenous groups as well as COVID-19. Industry watchdog group MiningWatch Canada has published reports of as many as 29 cases of COVID-19 connected with the mine, while Hudbay disputes that claim, saying the mine has had no cases and that incoming workers have been told to isolate for a week in the nearby city of Cusco before working

“We are operating at full capacity in Canada and in Peru,” said Kukielski to Mining.com.

 

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