UPDATE 2-Peru sees 66 pct spike in copper output next year thanks to Las Bambas

lunes 21 de diciembre de 2015 16:28 GYT

(Adds context on mining conflicts, minister's comments on Tia Maria construction permit and possible payments to opponents)

LIMA Dec 21 (Reuters) - Peru's government said on Monday that copper output in the world's third biggest producer should rise 65.5 percent in 2016 to about 2.5 million tonnes after MMG Ltd's massive Las Bambas project starts operations in February.

Ongoing talks with leaders in communities where protests against Las Bambas turned deadly in September have been positive and have not held up the $7.4 billion project, Energy and Mines Minister Rosa Maria Ortiz said.

The Las Bambas mine, in the highland region Apurimac, should produce between 250,000 and 300,000 tonnes of copper in 2016, Ortiz said.

Peru is expected to produce a growing share of copper supplies in years ahead, but community conflicts in the Andean country threaten to clog its $56 billion mining project pipeline.

Las Bambas would be the first mining project in Peru in recent years to start operations after the protests against it turned deadly.

Newmont Mining Corp's $4.8 billion gold and copper Conga project was derailed by unrest in 2011, and Southern Copper Corp put its $1.4 billion Tia Maria project on hold in May after three protesters died.

Continued strong opposition to Tia Maria, in the southern region of Arequipa, will likely keep the government from issuing a construction permit for the copper mine in what remains of President Ollanta Humala's term ending in late July, Ortiz said.

"It looks improbable to me. I can't say yes or no but it looks improbable," Ortiz said at a press conference.   Continuación...