Southern Copper to submit new EIS for Tía María in April

Monday, March 25, 2013

US-based Southern Copper (SCC) (NYSE: SCCO) expects to submit the environmental impact study (EIS) for its US$1bn Tía María copper project in Peru's Arequipa region in April, local press reported.

Tía María has been on hold since 2010 after the project came up against strong opposition from local residents.

SCC had to draw up a new draft of Tía María's EIS after the mines and energy ministry (MEM) hired the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to evaluate the document. The agency said that the EIS lacked technical information and underestimated the importance of social participation in the project. It recommended that these problems be corrected before granting approval.

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Earlier this year SCC CFO Raúl Jacob said that the company had completed the first review of the new EIS and was in the process of completing the final draft.

According to the company's water resource manager José Nicolás de Piérola, SCC is still in the process of evaluating water use at Tía María, including the option of building a desalination plant.

"We could use desalinated water there because it's close to the seaside," de Piérola told BNamericas.

Today, SCC's water use at the contiguous Toquepala and Cuajone mines in southern Peru is between 0.6m3/t and 0.8m3/t, at a price of US$0.08 per cubic meter, according to de Piérola.

In Peru, SCC also has the Ilo metallurgical complex in southern Peru and the US$1.2bn Los Chancas copper-molybdenum project in Apurímac region.

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