LIMA, July 5 Southern Copper Corp is
considering closing its foundry and refinery in southern Peru
because it does not think it will be able to meet tighter
pollution standards, according to a company document.
The global miner, a unit of Grupo Mexico, said
in an email circulated among employees this week that it is
impossible to comply with limits on sulfur dioxide emissions
that take effect at the start of 2014.
Reuters obtained a copy of the email. A source at the
company confirmed the document's authenticity.
It is unclear how such a closure would affect the company's
annual copper output, which the firm has estimated at about
650,000 tonnes this year.
Southern Copper said in the email that while the government
has extended the deadline for complying with the stricter
pollution standard, the technology that would enable the company
to comply "does not exist."
"In our case it is possible that we see ourselves forced to
close the foundry and refinery in Ilo," said the email, signed
by Chairman and Chief Executive Oscar Gonzalez.
Peru's environment ministry, which introduced the new air
quality standards, was not available for immediate comment. But
in an April press release it said the new rules were reasonable
and long overdue.
"The technology for reducing sulfur dioxide emissions has
been around for many years. Unfortunately, in our country it was
introduced long after our industrial plants and refineries
started operating," the press release said.
Some 2,500 people work at Southern Copper's units in
Cuajone, Toquepala and Ilo.