Key political appointment marks a new renaissance for Peruvian mining
The recently elected Government of Peru is firmly committed to turning around the fortunes of the country's economy and President Kuczynski's decision to appoint a new energy and mines minister, Gonzalo Tamayo is the latest example of this. Given that close to 10% of the country's GDP is allocated to mining activity and that mining products represent approximately 40% of the country’s exports, a commitment of this magnitude is required if domestic and international firms, as well as the communities serving local mines, are to fully benefit.
Peru has a rich mining history, with significant global rates of production throughout a range of materials including cooper, gold and silver. However, there have been, to date, a number of barriers to mining activity in the region as Chris Gale, managing director of Latin Resources, confirms:
"Given Peru's enviable position within the global mining hierarchy – it has recently been cited as the world's Third largest copper producer – the level of processes and unnecessary red tape required to instigate communications between mining companies and local communities has, to date, actually increased. While this was originally intended to create more fairness and accountability it has, in-fact, resulted in delays and frustration.
"With this being one of the most pressing matters in his in-tray, it is therefore likely that Tamayo will want to iron out delays in key processes and procedures around obtaining shared buy in for proposed explorations/ excavations so that key projects which have, to date, been on hold will finally get the green light."
Wise words indeed. Given the excellent record of health and safety the country has within its mining industry, as well as heightened sensitivity about the need to minimise damage to the environment, the potential for these qualities to be matched with local communities that are newly engaged in the part they can play in driving successful projects forward is now much greater so Peru's most recent government appointment bodes well for country's economic future.
Chris Gale also honed in on this link, commenting that: "This appointment represents a major opportunity for Peru to further embed its enviable position on the mining world stage. Its pole position as a leading producer of copper, silver and gold, to name a few, is no accident and has instead, come about as a result of the consistent adherence to the safety and collective success of local communities as well as ensuring that strict environmental guidelines are met during the operational process."
The level of commercial interest in the region is high and has been for some time. However, their latest political appointment may very well be the trigger required to combat the bureaucracy that has afflicted Peru's mining industry in recent years. Matching high levels of community engagement with the activities of agile and responsive global mining players clearly needs to be prioritised and given the core focus of the new minister, this is highly likely.
Written by Charles Bond, a partner at Gowling WLG
Global iron ore production to recover by 5.1% in 2021
Global iron ore production fell by 3% to 2.2bnt in 2020. Global production is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% to 2,663.4Mt between 2021 to 2025. The key contributors to this grow will be Brazil (6.2%), South Africa (4.1%), Australia (3.2%) and India (2.9%). Key upcoming projects expected to commence operations include South Flank in Australia (2021), Zulti in South Africa (H2 2021), Serrote Da Laje in Brazil (H2 2021) and Gudai-Darri (2022), according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, comments: “Declines from Brazil and India were major contributors to the reduced output in 2020. Combined production from these two countries fell from a collective 638.2Mt in 2019 to an estimated 591.1Mt in 2020. The reduced output from the iron ore giant, Vale, was the key factor behind Brazil’s reduced output, while delays in the auctioning of mines in Odisha affected India’s output in 2020.
“Miners in Australia were relatively unaffected by COVID-19 due to effective measures adopted by the Australian Government, while a speedy recovery in China led to a significant 10.4% increase in the country’s iron ore output.”
Looking ahead, the global iron ore production is expected to increase by 111.3Mt to 2,302.5Mt in 2021. Rio Tinto is expected to produce up to 340Mt of iron ore, while BHP has released production guidance of 245–255Mt, supported by the start of the Samarco project in December, which is expected to produce between 1–2Mt.The company has retained its guidance for Australian mines at 276–286Mt on a 100% basis, due to scheduled maintenance work at its ore handling plant and tie-in activity at the Area C mine and South-Flank mine.
Bajaj added: “The remaining companies are expected to produce more than 600Mt of iron ore, including FMG, whose production is expected to range between 175–180Mt supported by its Eliwana mine that commenced operations in late December 2020, and Anglo American, which is expecting to produce between 64–67Mt. Vale is expected to resume 40Mt of its production capacity, taking its overall production capacity to 350Mt in 2021, with production guidance of 315-335Mt.”