Peru leads world in silver production


Lima : Peru has become the world’s biggest producer of silver and ranks second in copper production, Mines and Energy Minister Juan Valdivia has said, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Wednesday.

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According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), silver production in Peru crossed 109 million fine ounces in 2007, while Mexico and China occupied the second and third place with over 96 million and 86 million fine ounces respectively.

Valdivia told reporters here Tuesday that the Andean nation was likely to increase its production of precious metals and other minerals in the coming years thanks to massive foreign investment and rising prices on international markets, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Wednesday.

“Mining is going very well. There is more and more exploration, and even investment from countries such as Russia and China have increased,” the minister said.

Peru ranked second to Chile in copper production with an output of 1,200 tonnes of fine copper last year, displacing the US. With 5,700 tonnes of output Chile was the biggest copper producer last year.

Valdivia said Peru would surpass neighbouring Chile to become the world’s top producer of copper within the next four years.

He said investment in exploration touched $465 million last year, an increase by $100 million over the figure of 2006. Total foreign investment in the area has been projected to increase by 25 percent during the current year, he said.

Though total gold output fell last year because of a decline in the output at the Yanacocha mine, Latin America’s biggest, Peru remained the world’s fifth largest producer of the precious metal.