BUENOS AIRES, July 31 (Reuters) – Peru will seek a “new deal” with its major mining sector by incentivizing “social profitability” projects with the world’s second largest copper producer, new Energy and Mining Minister Ivan Merino Reuters.
In his first interview since taking office on Thursday, he said mines don’t just have to make money for private companies and generate tax revenue. They should also help the population through improved infrastructure, respect for indigenous communities and better environmental protection, he added.
“A new deal will emerge from discussions with all players in the sector, including large, medium and small businesses,” Merino said in his office late Friday, the day after he took office with other cabinet members, led by left-wing President Pedro Castillo. were appointed.
Merino, who ran a conflict resolution firm before becoming minister, said he would develop the mining sector with a “territorial” approach in a country known for its diverse regions, cultures and ecosystems.
These “criteria are based on social return,” he said. “If the companies stick to it, they will not only develop their projects further, but we will support them with new initiatives.”
Castillo named moderate economist Pedro Francke as finance minister late Friday, a move seen as an olive branch to financial markets shaken by a possible harsh left-wing change of course. Castillo had previously named Guido Bellido, a hard-line Marxist, prime minister. Continue reading
Castillo had promised to raise mining taxes to fund bigger investments in health and education, but Merino said any new taxes would be decided from company to company. “We can’t generalize. You can’t tell a company that is already having high costs that it will have higher taxes,” he said.
Regarding the Las Bambas mine owned by the Chinese company MMG Ltd (1208.HK), where local communities have been blocking roads for more than a week, the minister said the government was ready to “facilitate” the dialogue.
Residents of three parishes in Chumbivilcas province started the blockade on July 23, claiming MMG had not shared enough of the mine’s benefits. Continue reading
“I would tell companies to come and invest and that if they meet our social return criteria they will have our full support,” added Merino.
Reporting by Marco Aquino; Letter from Hugh Bronstein; Adaptation by Richard Chang
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