Peru new mining minister to streamline permitting process

Newmont walked away from the $5 billion Conga copper-gold project in Peru in 2016, due to relentless community opposition. (Image: Screenshot via YouTube)

Peru will streamline the consultation period prior to granting mining licenses as part of a set of planned reforms to the country’s mining rules, the new head of the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM), Jaime Galvez has said.

The potential changes to the regulatory framework seek to speed up current projects, guarantee existing operations and promote exploration and investment, Servindi reported.

Governments in Peru are mandated by law to hold talks with local communities before they apply for a mining licence.

The new mining minister said his office will publish a proposal in January outlining steps to replace prior consultation in the exploration phase of projects with what he calls “prior agreement” between companies and communities to be affected by developments.

The change aims to reduce the current consultation period during the exploration phase to six months, down from about 12 months it currently takes.

BMO analysts said the announcement was positive. “Such a move would improve Peru’s competitiveness vis-à-vis other key mining countries which do not require such lengthy consultation periods (if at all) prior to the granting of mining licenses,” they wrote on Monday.

Peru’s political stability remains a key risk for mining investors. New interim president, Francisco Sagasti, assumed the role just two weeks ago, following the removal of Martin Vizcarra and the resignation of his successor Martin Merino in early November.

There currently are 48 mining projects at different stages of development, which represent almost $58 billion in investments. Another 54 exploration projects, totalling roughly $500 million are being executed.

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