Who will be the governors of Peru's mining regions?

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, October 04, 2022

With some 90% of the votes counted in Peru’s municipal and regional elections held on Sunday, most of the next governors in the country’s mining regions have emerged.

The radical left Perú Libre party – which has a strong presence in the country’s highlands and which led Pedro Castillo to the presidency – failed to win in any region. Castillo split with the party in June.

In the mining regions, there are some new faces and also governors who have already held public office on more than one occasion.

Mining regions:


Rohel Sánchez (Yo Arequipa) will be Arequipa’s regional governor when the winners take office on January 1 for four-year terms. He garnered more than 38% of the votes, well ahead of the second placed candidate who won 15% of the vote. The former rector of the most important university in the region, Universidad Nacional San Agustín, Sánchez is considered an outsider who is making his first foray into politics.

During his campaign, Sánchez’s message was that he would work to restart big projects to reactivate the economy. In Arequipa there is the Majes Siguas II irrigation project, the Sur Peruano gas pipeline, the Corío megaport and mining projects such as Tía María. These projects are halted while work on others has not begun. In an interview with newspaper La República, Sánchez said Majes Siguas II will take place "whatever the weather."

According to the governor-elect, his administration will also focus on land planning, the promotion of investments to create jobs, titles and regulation of agricultural land, the incorporation of technology in productive activities, and a social housing program. During his time as rector, Universidad Nacional San Agustín was recognized as one of the best public educational institutions in using the mining canon and promoting scientific research, according to Peruvian economic think tank IPE.


Koki Noriega (Alianza Gobierno Unidad y Acción) will be the next governor of Áncash region after winning 35% of the votes. His party is a regional movement, and like Sánchez’s Yo Arequipa, is not aligned with the largest parties such as Alianza por El Progreso and Somos Perú. 

Noriega is a centrist and has pledged to focus on the development of agribusiness, port modernization and highways. The projects that he will prioritize are modernizing and expanding Anta airport and the construction of the new Chimbote port terminal.

On mining and energy, details are scarce, other than an intention to take better advantage of mining royalties and align with the long-term plans of the energy and mines ministry.


Percy Godoy (Frente de la Esperanza), until recently the district mayor of San Jerónimo, will be the regional governor after obtaining 40% of the votes. His centrist party is relatively new while when he was mayor Godoy was backed by a popular movement. 

The governor-elect recognizes the importance of mining for Apurímac and he proposes carrying out environmental audits every year – exploration, exploitation, processing, refining and closure of operations. However, the proposal appears to contradict the sentiments of many of those at last week’s Perumin mining conference, when the problem of bureaucratic barriers to exploration of new projects was discussed.


Cajamarca is one of the few regions where a second round of voting will be held, with Roger Guevara (center-right party Somos Perú) and Andrés Villar (Frente Regional de Cajamarca) facing each other after winning 19.9% and 19.4% of the vote, respectively. In the case of regional governments, a second round is held when the leading candidate does not exceed 30% of valid votes.

Guevara, who has never held public office, plans highlight the role of mining in the region, which has over US$15bn worth of projects under development or pending. There are, however, no clear proposals to revitalize the sector.

Villar served as provincial mayor of Cajamarca between 2019 and 2022. Like Guevara, his government plan mentions the role of mining but also without clear proposals. His focus will be on streamlining the execution of the public budget and fighting corruption.


Like Cajamarca, Cusco is going to a second round. Werner Salcedo (Somos Perú) did not obtain 30% of the valid votes, and Edy Cuéllar (Inka Pachakuteq regional movement) will be his rival.

Salcedo’s government plan mentions the economic contribution of mining – specifically the Antapaccay and Constancia copper mines – but also the consequences of tailings. He would also look to build a petrochemical plant in the region, develop hydroelectric power plants, construct a gas fractionation plant and boost rural electrification.

Cuéllar, a businessman in the tourism sector, presents himself as the outsider who is venturing into politics. He does not delve into the mining-energy sectors in his government plan. However, the financing of almost all e proposals for the region would be based on the use of the canon, that is income mainly from mining and the hydrocarbons sector. Consequently, his government plan will have to be compatible with mining to finance the projects he proposes for tourism, health and education.

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