Sierra Metals granted key permit for Peruvian expansion

Yauricocha copper mine. (Image courtesy of Sierra metals | Twitter.)

Sierra Metals (TSX: SMY)(NYSE:SMTS) said on Wednesday it had received a key permit that will allow it to boost by 20% to 3,600 tonnes per day at its flagship Yauricocha copper mine in Peru.

The Canadian miner is currently working on completing a pre-feasibility study at the underground mine, which evaluates increasing throughput to 5,500 mt/day starting in 2024.

Yauricocha, located 150 km east-southeast of Peru’s capital Lima, makes up about 60% of Sierra Metals annual revenue.

The mine, which has been in operations for over 70 continuous years, churned out 75,079 copper equivalent pounds in 2020.

Mining companies operating in Peru face fresh challenges, as the newly elected president has expressed his intention of taking up to 70% of profits from mining companies and introduce new royalties on mineral sales.

Socialist Pedro Castillo ended the count with only 44,058 votes ahead of Keiko Fujimori, who has made allegations of fraud with little proof and has tried to get some votes annulled.

The former school teacher has claimed victory in the presidential election held on June 6. On Wednesday, updated his Twitter profile to include “President-elect of the Republic of Peru (2021-2026).”

“A new time has begun,” he twitted, alongside a picture of himself with arms raised, the word “President” in large font and his campaign slogan: “No more poor in a rich country.”

Castillo will face a deeply fragmented legislature with ten diverse political parties, none of whom hold a majority. Castillo’s Free Peru socialists would have the largest bloc, followed by Fujimori’s conservatives.

Peru posted its worst economic plunge in three decades last year, with growth falling by 11% and copper output 12.5% lower than in 2019.

Mining is a major economic engine in Peru, accounting for nearly 60% of the Andean nation’s exports.

The copper producing country, second only to neighbouring Chile, has 46 mining projects representing potential investment of $56 billion in the pipeline.

Peru is also a top global player in silver, gold, zinc and lead production.

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