By Oscar Martinez

Currently, mining activities in Peru are slowly going back to normal thanks to a four-phase mining reactivation plan implemented by the Peruvian government. Phase 1 allows for major mining companies resume operations; Phase 2: Exploration activities restart; Phase 3: Midsize mining companies resume operations; and Phase 4 (final): Conventions, trade shows and meetings resume.

The Peruvian Institute of Mining Engineers (IIMP) recently organized a discussion panel to address some of the challenges for the reactivation of the mining sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel was hosted by IIMP Director Dr. Miguel Cardozo, and the speakers were Gonzalo Tamayo, former minister of mines and energy, and Ricardo Marquez, president of the National Society of Companies (SNI).

“It will be a priority to return mining to normal, but it won’t be easy,” Tamayo said. “It will face big challenges as the mines resume day-to-day activities. Investing in mining exploration will be another issue, and I think it will be postponed.” He also pointed out that informal mining in Peru has not stopped.

Cardozo believed that Peru’s GDP could fall up to 20% due to the lower activity in the mining sector. “Mining leads private investment and accounts for more than 10% of Peru’s exports,” Cardozo said.

Cardozo also said it is mandatory for every mining company operating in Peru to maintain the highest safety standards and extend the shifts during operation.

“Shifts will probably move to a 30 (on) x 15 (off) system,” Cardozo said. “There should not be manpower downsizing in mining because the companies will try to keep or even increase their current production rates.

“In addition, I strongly feel that exploration should continue. I believe that mining companies in Peru will draw upon innovation to maintain costs and cash flows.”