Social investment agreement reached for Southern Copper's Toquepala expansion

Monday, February 11, 2013

US-based Southern Copper (SCC) (NYSE: SCCO) and local authorities have come to an agreement on a 255mn-sol (US$98.8mn) social investment fund for the US$600mn expansion at its Toquepala copper mine in Peru's Tacna region, the prime minister's office (PCM) said in a release.

The agreement, the result of a roundtable set up in October 2011, is part of the company's efforts to prevent future conflicts that may cause delays to the project, SCC spokesperson Guillermo Vidalón told BNamericas.

The fund will prioritize development projects and water infrastructure in the province of Candarave, where the mine is located, and will be monitored by a management committee appointed by the roundtable.

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Additionally, the Peruvian government has agreed to invest 35mn soles in water infrastructure in the province, according to the PCM release.

SCC's most recent forecast for the completion of the expansion is the first quarter of 2014, but it is still awaiting approval of the project's environmental impact study which was submitted in July 2011. Approval has been held up due to protests against the project.

The expansion looks to increase copper production at Toquepala by 22,000t/y and the company has spent a total of US$232mn on it as of December 31.

SCC is 80%-owned by Grupo México (BMV: GMEXICOB), with the remainder held by the international investment community.