UPDATE 1-Peru says to issue final permit for Southern Copper mine in days

Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:28pm EDT

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LIMA, July 31 (Reuters) - Peru said on Thursday it will issue the long-awaited environmental permit for Southern Copper Corp's Tia Maria project by Monday, removing the final hurdle to construction on the stalled $1.4 billion project.

Deputy Mines Minister Guillermo Shinno said all questions about the company's environmental impact study for the project in Southern Peru have been answered satisfactorily and that an official approval is being written now.

"The information is complete," Shinno told Reuters. "The resolution approving the environmental impact study for Tia Maria will probably be formally delivered to the company tomorrow Friday, or Monday at the latest."

Southern Copper has said Tia Maria, a $1.4 billion investment, will likely produce some 120,000 tonnes of copper per year over the two-decade life of the mine.

The company's first environmental impact study for the project was rejected during the previous presidential administration amid a wave of protests that turned violent.

Local opponents of the project, especially farmers, have said they fear the mine will deplete or pollute the region's water reserves.

Southern Copper, controlled by Grupo Mexico, has said it expects its copper output to rise slightly this year to 670,000 tonnes. (Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Phil Berlowitz)