Peru’s national economy has always relied on the country’s mining sector. This is evident from the fact that Peru has a place in the top ten countries that are rich in mineral resources. Gold Fields, Anglo American, Xstrata, and Glencore are few of the globe’s major mining organization operating in Peru. Peru is the third largest miner of zinc in the world with 7.6% of the world’s zinc reserve.
Although zinc has been around in Peru for centuries, it was until the 10th century that Peruvians started to develop efficient metallurgical techniques and mining methods. The mining methods developed by Peruvians became known to Europeans in the 16th century, and eventually, the full potential of zinc was discovered. The La Oroya refinery is the first refinery, in 1922, to refine zinc using modern techniques. This was followed by a more modern and sophisticated refinery in April 1981. The establishment of this new refinery pioneered the growth of zinc mining in Peru, which eventually led to Peru been the main producer of metal in the world. Between 1970 and 2010, Peru saw a sharp increase in the number of international private investors which eventually led to the expansion of zinc mine in the country.
The major zinc deposit in Peru is in the country’s highlands, especially the Andean Mountain Range (with around 31.8% of the country’s territory). Zinc mine is common in areas like Yanque, Pucallpa, Cusco, Lima, Ancash, and Ica. Exploitation of zinc in Peru started slowly in the 20th century even when their locations are already ascertained. This was as a result of factors like geographical location, depth of the mineral, processing plants, and transportation facilities. The top three zinc mine foreign investment companies in Peru are Minera Shouxin Peru (with an investment worth $239 million), Compania Minera Milpo (with an investment worth $470 million), and Exploraciones Collasuyo (with an investment worth $346 million). Top three local investors are Trevali Mining (with an investment ranging between 48 and 50 million pounds), Zincore Metals, and Solitario Exploration & Royalty.
The US Geological Survey revealed that in 2010, Peru recorded 1.52 million tons of zinc mine, making the Peru the second largest producer of zinc in the world. When it comes to mining tradition, Volcan is the largest miner of zinc in Peru and the 4th largest in the world. This is based on the fact that the company recorded zinc mine of 672,758 tonnes in 2009.
However, just recently, zinc miners alongside copper miners in Peru have been forced to declare force majeure due to the flooding issues experienced in the country. Flood and landslide have hindered the transportation of zinc in the country, especially in the Central Andes region. Zinc mine in Peru has developed the economy of the country, and it is expected that it will continue to develop the country’s economy even though there have been calls for a look into other sectors. Issues like landslide and flood pose a risk to the transportation of zinc in the country. This is an issue that needs to be resolved in Peru mining industry as it is capable of affecting zinc mining in the country which eventually affects the country’s economy.