LIMA Jan 20 Peru will likely approve the
environmental impact study for Southern Copper's
$1 billion Tia Maria project in the second quarter,
Energy and Mines Minister Jorge Merino said on Monday.
"We are working closely with the company," Merino told
In mid-December, Merino told state news agency Andina that
the key permit for the proposed copper mine in southern Peru
would probably be passed within 90 days.
Merino said the ministry is evaluating observations made by
locals following town hall meetings with the company late last
In 2011, the previous government rejected the environmental
impact study for the project, after violent protests by farmers
who said the mine would deplete their water supplies.
Southern Copper, an affiliate of Grupo Mexico,
has agreed to build a desalination plant.
Merino said the company now has the backing of nearby
communities, but local opponents continue to hold protests
against the mine, saying they were excluded from recent talks.
Southern Copper expects Tia Maria to produce 120,000 tons of
copper per year.