Xstrata pushes ahead to build $4.2bn Peru mine

-SWISS miner Xstrata signed a deal with Peru yesterday giving it rights to start building its Las Bambas copper mine, a $4.2bn project president Alan Garcia called “the contract of the century.”

Xstrata’s investment is about equal to three per cent of Peru’s gross domestic product and – unlike hundreds of other projects in Peru that have been delayed by local residents worried about pollution or water shortages – Las Bambas has encountered little resistance.

Xstrata Copper chief executive Charlie Sartain has pushed ahead with the mine even though Peru will hold presidential elections in April and June of next year. Polls indicate a centrist or conservative candidate will win and keep mainstream economic policies in place. The company says Las Bambas will be a world-class mine with initial production of 400,000 tonnes a year of copper in concentrate