MEM promotes 200+ mining projects

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Peru is promoting more than 200 mineral projects to foreign investors to highlight the country's mining potential, "quite competitive" tax regime and stable conditions, business daily Gestion reported deputy energy and mines minister Cesar Polo as saying. The energy and mines ministry (MEM) also aims to encourage investment in these projects by reducing bureaucracy and finding an efficient mechanism to resolve conflicts with local communities, he said. Polo plans to talk with the state's investment promotion agency ProInversion about possible measures to simplify procedures for obtaining licenses, among others, and thus speed up mining investment, according to the paper. Potential conflicts between local communities and miners might be averted by explaining mining processes and citizen rights at the beginning of a project's development, the government official said. Polo welcomed the willingness of the regional government of Pasco department to mediate in a dispute between the community of Vico and local miner El Brocal over its San Gregorio zinc project and said that, in general, these types of social issues were best dealt with locally. The MEM is working to transfer regulation of the mining sector to the regions, focusing in particular on the roles of inspection and community relations, according to Polo. The process of decentralization will begin in 2004 with small-scale and artisan mining, he said. On the conflict over development of Vancouver-based Manhattan Minerals' (TSX: MAN) Tambogrande polymetallic project in northern Peru's Piura department, Polo said the community's confidence had been lost at the start and it was difficult to regain it. The local ombudsman and church were currently trying to create the right conditions for dialogue between the company and the community so that locals could be adequately informed about the project, he said. The list of 276 mining projects, drawn up by Peru's private sector national society of mining, oil and energy (SNMPE), represent potential investment of US$10bn, MEM minister Jaime Quijandria said previously. Of the total, 87 are prospects, 171 exploration projects, 13 at pre-feasibility or feasibility stage while five require reactivation or expansion, Quijandria said.

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