August 3, 2011 / 4:09 PM / 8 years ago

Peru to ask Ecuador for energy - minister

* Peru rationing energy in industrial north through August

* Gold mine Yanacocha says production continuing

By Patricia Velez and Caroline Stauffer

LIMA, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Peru, which has started to ration energy in the northern part of the country, will ask Ecuador for electricity and try to increase transmission capacity between the countries, Peru’s mines and energy minister said on Wednesday.

Carlos Herrera said the rationing, which runs daily from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., would last through the month of August in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

It affects areas from Trujillo to Cajamarca, where U.S. miner Newmont (NEM.N) runs the Yanacocha gold mine with Buenaventura (BVN.N). Buenaventura’s chief executive said output had not been impacted at Yanacocha.

“I understand that nearly 35 percent of energy consumption in mining operations in the north has been affected but in general terms production continues,” said CEO Roque Benavides.

Canada’s Barrick (ABX.TO) also operates the Lagunas Norte mine in northern Peru.

It was not immediately clear if the mines had their own back-up generation facilities.

Peru has a bilateral energy accord with Ecuador, to which it has previously sold electricity, and is negotiating accords with Chile and Colombia that could help avoid future supply crises in the region.

“I am going to call the minister of Ecuador now,” Herrera said. “We’ll see if we can get better connection capacity because in both countries there are different hydrological cycles. That is, when it rains in one country it doesn’t rain in the other, and vice versa.”

Herrera’s predecessor, Pedro Sanchez, had said the rationing was expected to start next year, but Herrera said it came earlier than expected and started this week. (Reporting by Patricia Velez and Terry Wade; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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