MINING: The week in 10 stories

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Latin America's mining industry was focused on Peru this week, as the ProExplo conference took place in capital Lima. During the event, zinc producer Milpo said it plans to start operations at its Magistral copper-molybdenum project by end-2019, while tin miner Minsur said it is planning an "aggressive" exploration campaign at its San Rafael mine to compensate for falling grades.

In Mexico, Hecla Mining said it is moving towards underground mining at its San Sebastián gold-silver mine, as the open pit deposit is expected to be exhausted by year-end. Argonaut Gold, for its part, said gold production at its San Agustin project in Mexico is near, with first gold pour planned for July.

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Also in Mexico, the country's mining production rose at its fastest pace in 18 months in March, with output increasing 7.3% year-on-year.

In Argentina, Pan American Silver said it plans to extend operations at its Manantial Espejo mine following the acquisition of two nearby deposits.

In Bolivia, the country's efforts to industrialize its massive lithium deposits fell short, as no companies qualified for a bidding round for construction of a US$900mn plant. The government of President Evo Morales said it will launch a new bidding process.

Colombia is trying to finally revamp its mining industry, which President Juan Manuel Santos once called one of the five engines for development. So far the country's mining industry has centered around coal, but it is seeking US$7.6bn in project development over the next five years, according to mining association ACM.

And in Chile, copper production fell 23.5% to 372,500t in March on the effects of the strike at BHP Billiton's Escondida, as well as weaker output at state copper giant Codelco and Anglo American's Sur division.

Also in Chile, BHP confirmed this week that it put its small Cerro Colorado mine up for sale. Those rumored to be interested are local industrial conglomerate Copec, and Canadian miners Lundin Mining, Teck and Hudbay Minerals.