May 31, 2018 / 11:15 PM / in 2 years

Peru cenbank urges government to help revive mining projects

LIMA, May 31 (Reuters) - The manager of Peru’s central bank urged the government of President Martin Vizcarra on Thursday to do more to revive mining projects that have been derailed by protests.

Renzo Rossini, of the central bank, said three suspended mining projects - Southern Copper Corp’s Tia Maria, Newmont Mining Corp’s Conga and Zijin Mining Group’s Rio Blanco - would have delivered $7 billion in investments and about $500 million in annual tax revenue had they been built.

“That gives us a sense of the urgency,” Rossini said during a presentation at the International Gold & Silver Symposium in Peru.

“One shouldn’t be complacent and say this will work itself out on its own,” Rossini added, without offering specific recommendations for what the government should do.

Newmont suspended Conga, a proposed gold and copper mine in northern Peru, in 2011 after five protesters died in clashes with police. Southern Copper put its copper project Tia Maria on hold in 2015 after similar deadly protests by local residents and activists worried about environmental impacts.

Southern Copper has since asked the government to issue a construction permit for Tia Maria.

But the government of Vizcarra, who took office in March, has said it would not impose mining projects on reluctant communities.

Rossini said the government should cut red tape for mining exploration to take advantage of renewed interest in Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper producer, after mineral prices have improved.

Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Writing by Mitra Taj Editing by Leslie Adler

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