LIMA, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Anglo American will “most certainly” move ahead with its $3 billion Quellaveco copper mine in Peru and is already making preliminary investments before formal approval by its board, the country’s mines and energy minister said on Tuesday.
Jorge Merino said the government has approved necessary licenses so that the global miner can start construction on the mine, situated in the southern region of Moquegua.
He also said the miner had worked out an accord with the local community about water usage in the arid region. In a bid to defuse potential conflicts over resources, President Ollanta Humala has urged companies to guarantee water supplies to local towns before opening big projects.
“About a month ago Anglo officials visited us in Peru and assured us the project would go forward,” Merino told reporters. “Board approval is only needed to formalize the decision.”
Quellaveco would produce about 220,000 tonnes a year of copper in Peru, the world’s No. 2 producer of the red metal after Chile.
Earlier on Tuesday, Anglo American named veteran miner Mark Cutifani as chief executive to replace Cynthia Carroll, who resigned in October. Cutifani will leave his current post as head of AngloGold in March.
Anglo American has said it would take 44 months to build Quellaveco. The company also operates in Chile, where it is a partner with Xstrata in the giant Collahuasi mine, which holds the world’s No. 3 copper deposit.