AREQUIPA, Peru, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Peruvian precious metals miner Buenaventura expects the government to issue an environmental permit for its San Gabriel gold project at the end of the year, the company's vice president of operations said Tuesday.
Igor Gonzales added that San Gabriel, formerly called Chucapaca, will likely produce around 200,000 ounces of gold per year starting in the first quarter of 2018. The mine will cost between $460 million and $520 million.
Buenaventura scaled back its plans for the project after buying full control of it from Gold Fields last year. It opted to design an underground instead of open-pit mine, lowering the level of investment.
"But it will have higher ore grades because the mine will be more selective," Gonzales told reporters while attending a mining conference. "We think it's the most efficient way to spend our capital."
Reporting By Teresa Cespedes; Editing by Alan Crosby