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LIMA, July 16 (Reuters) - A Peruvian-Chilean consortium hopes to start production at its $650 million petrochemical plant as soon as 2012, the company said on Thursday, after Peru's government approved the project.
Nitratos del Peru, a partnership between Peru's Brescia group and Chile's Sigdo Koppers SK.SN, said the plant would produce up to 710,000 tonnes of ammonia and 350,000 tonnes of industrial grade ammonium nitrate per year.
"This project comes from the idea that Peru cannot continue to depend on ammonium nitrate imports," company representative Jaime Quijandria told state television.
The Andean country is trying to persuade foreign companies to invest billions of dollars to develop petrochemical plants that turn natural gas into ammonium nitrate used to make explosives, fertilizers and ethylene for plastics.
The new plant will be built in Pisco, a coastal city 155 miles (250 km) south of the capital, Lima.
U.S.-based fertilizer maker CF Industries (CF.N) is planning to build a $1 billion petrochemical complex in southern Peru. Both are set to receive natural gas supplies from Argentina's Pluspetrol, which heads a consortium that extracts gas from Peru's massive Camisea field. (Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Writing by Dana Ford; Editing by Christian Wiessner)