SÃO PAULO The buyer of Perus Las Bambas copper project "doesnt necessarily have to be a Chinese company," according to Peruvian energy and mines minister Jorge Merino Tafur.
The former Glencore International Plc, which recently merged to form Glencore Xstrata Plc, agreed to sell its interest in the project in order to receive Chinas Ministry of Commerces approval of its merger with miner Xstrata Plc (amm.com, April 16).
"The Chinese government has imposed this condition, but it is a sale like any other in the world. The buyer doesnt necessarily have to be a Chinese company," Tafur told Peruvian newspaper La Gestion.
The project, which is expected to start production in the first quarter of 2015, is about 30 percent complete, according to the ministry. The minister recently visited the 400,000-tonne-per-year copper project to inspect construction work at the site.
"Glencore will evaluate the issue and has until September 2014 to find a buyer. Las Bambas budget ($5.2 billion) is assured. There is a contract with the (Peruvian) state that is being fulfilled," Tafur added.
The minister said he expects Peruvian copper production to double by 2016 to 2.8 million tonnes per year.
"This is happening due to projects like Cerro Verde, Las Bambas and Toromocho, to cite some of the most important. They will guarantee that we keep increasing production," Tafur said.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.