Peru to update mining laws, no 'big changes' to taxes: finmin

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru is preparing legislation to update the country’s mining laws but is unlikely to make any “big changes” on taxes on mining companies, Finance Minister Carlos Oliva said on Monday.

International miners including Freeport McMoRan Inc, Glencore PLC, Newmont Mining Corp and Southern Copper Corp operate in the Andean country, the world’s No. 2 copper producer and Latin America’s biggest gold producer.

“We don’t foresee big changes on taxes,” Oliva told foreign media at a press conference in Lima. “Obviously we’ll carry out a case-by-case analysis, but that shouldn’t be the focus because we believe the tax burden for mining companies is currently around the international average and we don’t want to lose competitivity.”

President Martin Vizcarra said last week his government would send Congress a proposal to update mining laws that date back to nearly three decades. His announcement came after Elmer Caceres, governor of the southern region of Arequipa, called for a review of Peru’s general mining law to ensure communities and regions benefit as much as mining companies.

Oliva said the government had recognized the need for modernizing the law prior to Caceres’ push for revisions.

“The idea is to have a law that truly promotes investment - investment that’s environmentally sustainable and has some kind of social approval,” Oliva said.

Peru is a relatively low-cost place for mining companies, but opposition to mining in remote provinces has delayed billions of dollars in planned investments.

On Sunday, Vizcarra authorized the army to maintain order at a key mining port, a day before an expected new round of protests against Southern Copper Corp’s $1.4 billion proposed Tia Maria mine.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Richard Chang