May 7, 2020 / 1:57 PM / 18 days ago

Exclusive: Peru mines set to restart; to hit 80% production in a month - industry official

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian miners are set to restart operations in coming days and ramp up to around 80% of normal production levels within a month, a senior official at the country’s mining industry group told Reuters, as the world’s No. 2 copper producing country looks to rebound from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pablo de la Flor, executive director of the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy (SNMPE), said around 20 mining companies were ready to resume operations, which have been crimped by a nationwide lockdown since mid-March.

He said miners were currently operating at between 35% and 40% of capacity due to the impact of the virus.

“We are talking about 39 operations by 22 large mining companies,” De la Flor told Reuters by phone later on Wednesday.

“These represent approximately 95% of (local) copper production, 65% of silver production, 62% of zinc production and 26% of gold production,” he added.

Peru’s mining companies, which make up 60% of all the country’s exports, have been carrying out limited operations on essential or maintenance areas, according to government restrictions to avoid contagion of coronavirus.

Peru’s government has said it wants to gradually restart key activities in May, to reduce the impact on the economy. The county has registered 54,817 confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far, one of the highest in the region.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by David Gregorio

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