Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has announced the approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the US$4.2 billion Las Bambas copper project in southern Peru’s Apurimac Region. The approval paves the way to complete the final permitting for construction to commence as scheduled in the third quarter of 2011.
Las Bambas will be a major, low-cost, long-life copper mine with initial production of 400,000 tonnes per annum of copper in concentrate, including significant gold, silver and molybdenum by-products, and first quartile cash costs. First ore is expected to be processed in the second quarter of 2014 with ramp up and full production reached by the end of that year.
Xstrata Copper Chief Executive Charlie Sartain said:”Over the past six years, we have rapidly transformed Las Bambas from an early stage exploration prospect with no defined Mineral Resources to a significant project with resources of over 1 billion tonnes.
“The approval of the Las Bambas ESIA is another important milestone for the project and a significant step in Xstrata Copper’s growth strategy to develop our assets in southern Peru into a major new copper-producing region that will contribute to a 50% increase in our total annual copper production to almost 1.5 million tonnes by the end of 2014.”
The development of Las Bambas will generate an average of approximately 3,600 direct jobs during construction and 1,350 permanent jobs once in operation.
In August 2010, Xstrata announced approval to construct Las Bambas subject to regulatory approvals.
Xstrata Copper contacts:
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Notes for editors
ABOUT XSTRATA PLC
Xstrata is a global diversified mining group, listed on the London and Swiss Stock Exchanges. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Xstrata maintains a meaningful position in seven major international commodity markets: copper, coking coal, thermal coal, ferrochrome, nickel, vanadium and zinc with additional exposure to gold, cobalt, lead and silver. The Xstrata Group also comprises a growing platinum group metals business, iron ore projects, recycling facilities and a suite of global technology products, many of which are industry leaders. The Group’s operations and projects span 20 countries.
ABOUT XSTRATA COPPER
Xstrata Copper is the fourth largest global copper producer with attributable mined production in 2010 of 913,500 tonnes of copper in cathodes and concentrates. The company is also one of the world’s largest producers of smelter and refined copper, including from third party materials.
Headquartered in Brisbane, Xstrata Copper is one of the commodity business units within the major global diversified mining group Xstrata plc. Its mining and metallurgical operations and development projects span eight countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the USA. Its operations and projects are administered through a regional divisional management structure, which ensures that critical decisions are taken close to the related businesses. It also has a recycling business (Xstrata Recycling) with plants in the United States and offices in Canada and Asia.
LAS BAMBAS MINING PROJECT
In August 2004, Xstrata was awarded the right to explore and the option to develop Las Bambas following a competitive international bid process conducted by Peru’s investment promotion agency ProInversión. The project sits at an elevation of 3,700 to 4,650 metres above sea level and is located in the provinces of Cotabambas and Grau in the Region of Apurímac, 75 kilometres southwest of the city of Cusco. The Las Bambas mining project extends of 35,000 hectares and includes the Ferrobamba, Chalcobamba, Sulfobamba and Charcas mining concessions.
In December 2010, Xstrata Copper announced a 36% increase to the Las Bambas Mineral Resource to 1.55 billion tonnes at a grade of 0.61% copper using a 0.2% cut-off grade.