Mining companies in Peru, a major global producer of base and precious metals, increased investments by 60.6% in the first two months of this year to $1.05 billion, the government said.
The Mines and Energy Ministry said in an emailed statement on Wednesday that Minera Yanacocha SRL invested $177.6 million in January and February, which is a 214% increase from the year-ago period.
Yanacocha, which is majority-owned by Newmont Mining Corp. (>> Newmont Mining Corporation), operates South America's biggest gold mine, located in Peru's Cajamarca region. Also in Cajamarca, Yanacocha has the stalled $4.8 billion Minas Conga copper and gold project, the country's biggest private-sector investment project.
The ministry also said that Xstrata PLC (>> Xstrata PLC) invested $140 million in its Las Bambas copper project and $67 million in its Tintaya copper project.
In 2011, mining companies in Peru invested $7.2 billion, up 77% from the prior year.
Peru is the world's second biggest producer of copper and silver and a major producer of gold, zinc, lead and other minerals. Mining companies plan to invest more than $50 billion in new mines and expansion projects this decade, according to the ministry.
-By Ryan Dube, Dow Jones Newswires; 51-945 043 802; firstname.lastname@example.org