gE Blog Series: Global Mining Industry Part 4: Investment in Latin American Mining
A new study conducted by the international law firm Denton in association with the Mining and Investment in Latin America 2015 conference found that many companies, despite current conditions, have remained optimistic. The survey, which was carried out among mining companies and financiers who are active in Mexico, Central and South America indicated that 66% of those interviewed are somewhat optimistic that there will be an increase in investment over the next 12 month. The mining industry is facing challenges with current economic conditions and rout in the commodity markets, but corporate social responsibility was not regarded to be that high of a concern. Corporate social responsibility is important because due to issues, projects worth billions of dollars have been stalled.
Consolidation through mergers and acquisitions are expected to occur in the coming months, and surveys indicated that there may be an increase in strategic investments. Many of the interviewees believed that a large part of the funding for Latin American mining projects would come from North American and Asia. It was revealed that Peru is regarded to have the most investment and project opportunities, however, Chile was thought to attract the most investment opportunities over the next 12 to 18 months. Peru was seen to have the most opportunities for projects and investment, and was followed by Chile and Mexico which were both tied with each other.
Peru is expecting to see $56 billion in the coming year from Chinese, American and Canadian companies due to several ventures. About 47 are in the last stages of developing the mines, 24 that are dedicated to exploration and 6 others that are meant for expansion. Currently, China is the largest investor in Peru, having invested $19.2 billion into various copper projects. One of the largest backed projects that are backed by Chinese companies is MMG’s Las Bambas that would mine copper, zinc, silver and gold. Despite weak metal prices, and current commodity rout, Las Bambas made their first shipment of copper concentrated to China in the beginning of the first quarter of 2016. Peru is the currently the third largest copper producer globally, and mining alone accounts for approximately 60% of its earnings for exports.