LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s miners are revving up stalled operations with mass testing, isolation periods and revamped shift patterns, setting up the world’s No. 2 copper producer to hit 80% of production capacity by the end of June, industry officials said.
The restart is key to Peru’s economic engine and metals output which was devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide lockdown. But unions for mine workers have voiced concerns that some planned shifts are too long while testing and protective measures need to be strengthened.
The mining and hydrocarbons industry, the top driver of Peru’s exports, fell over 40% in April, with output of copper, gold, zinc and silver down sharply. Companies are scrambling to avoid falling further behind larger neighboring producer Chile, which has maintained production through the pandemic.
At least 41 large Peruvian firms have put in place government-mandated hygiene protocols as they seek to reach full production capacity in the third quarter, industry sources said.
“Around the end of June I think we should be reaching 80% of production levels that we were at before the quarantine,” Pablo de la Flor, executive director of industry body the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy, told Reuters this week.
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