Compañia de Minas Buenaventura S.A.A. has submitted a notice to the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM) that it intends to temporarily suspend mining activities at the Tajo Norte zinc mine for up to three years due to a delay of the mine’s Modification of Environmental Impact Assessment approval. This delay was caused by various events, including administrative delays related to the Covid-19 pandemic, Peru’s related 2020 state of emergency, as well as recent 2022 regulatory changes related to the processing of environmental assessments.
Tajo Norte is one of two mines operating under Buenaventura’s Colquijirca Production Unit. Regular mining operations will continue at Colquijirca’s other mine, the Marcapunta underground copper mine. However, only exploration activities, stockpiled ore rehandling at the concentrator, water management, and care and maintenance activities will be carried out at Tajo Norte. Zinc production at Tajo Norte has declined steadily from 54,900 metric tons (mt) in 2020 to 23,400 mt in 2022.
Buenaventura said it is implementing a plan to increase production at Marcapunta, saying it expects the mine’s 10,000 mt per day (mt/d) production rate to increase to 12,000 mt/d in the next 2 to 3 years. The company said it will maintain its focus on improving operating efficiency to remain competitive while mining activities at Tajo Norte are suspended.