LIMA, Jan 20 (Reuters) - 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 reporters.
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 year.
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.