Southern Copper says opposition to Peru project may delay start
LIMA, April 28 (Reuters) - Southern Copper Corp said on Tuesday that local protests against its $1.4 billion Tia Maria project in Peru might delay its scheduled roll-out in 2017.
The global miner had been expecting a construction permit for the proposed copper mine when rallies calling for its cancellation broke out a month ago.
Raul Jacob, vice president of finance and chief financial officer, said that Southern Copper should receive the permit if government talks under way with local opponents ease tensions.
"A timeline on that is very difficult to provide at this point," Jacob said on a conference call with investors.
"We're expecting it (Tia Maria) to be at full-speed in 2017. That may vary if current talks with local communities take a little longer than we're considering," Jacob said.
Farmers in the southern region of Arequipa continued a month long protest against Tia Maria on Tuesday after a protester was killed in clashes with police last week.
Prime Minister Pedro Cateriano traveled to the region to lead cabinet negotiations with opponents, who say the project will pollute nearby agricultural valleys.
Southern Copper, controlled by Grupo Mexico, said the 120,000-tonnes-per-year open-pit mine will adhere to the highest environmental standards.
The miner reiterated that it expects to produce about 782,000 tonnes of copper this year and 910,000 in 2016. (Reporting by Mitra Taj; editing by Gunna Dickson)
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