Peru's Energy and Mines Minister Gonzalo Tamayo on Tuesday noted there are several mining sites as large as Las Bambas, which might turn into megaprojects if they meet the required conditions.
"There are deposits as large as Las Bambas, not only one but various. Their exploration will depend on the site's conditions. Energy, water resources, transport, among others, might be required," he was quoted as saying by the official gazette El Peruano.
However, he explained the activation of world-class megaprojects like Las Bambas, Toromocho or Cerro Verde does not occur every year, so it will take some time before a large mining company opens in Peru.
"It takes time to identify these megaprojects; they need a suitable level of resources and their construction takes at least five years to complete," he stated.
Their activation depends on copper price, since an eventual mass production, combined with megaprojects underway, might adjust the red metal price downward.
"We must take into account the activation of mining megaprojects, not only in Peru but in other parts of the world, added to the global economic slowdown, led to copper trading at nearly US$2 a pound," he said.
The largest mining company in the country
Currently in the exploration phase, Las Bambas (operated by MMG Limited) is the largest mining company in Peru, with investments worth US$10 billion.
The mine is located at altitude of about 4,000 meters above sea level, between provinces of Cotabambas and Grau, in Apurimac region, and 72 km southeast of Cusco city.
Copper price improves
Even though the copper price has soared over the past years, he said, it is still not enough. This explains why some companies opt to expand their active sites before exploring new reserves.