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The organizers of Peru's biggest mining conference warned Thursday that not enough was being done to boost falling metals production in the country and said the problem is being masked by higher commodities prices.
Production of copper, gold, zinc and silver all fell in Peru in 2010, while export values reached record highs of more than $20 billion.
"The good prices of metals are giving us a false illusion," said Fernando Cilloniz, one of the mining convention organizers.
At a press conference, the PeruMin Mine Convention committee blamed falling production levels on factors such as a lack of political leadership, red tape and objections by social and environmental groups.
Cilloniz said the Las Bambas copper project development by Xstrata Copper (XTA.LN), the Toromocho copper project owned by Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (ACH, 2600.HK) and the Quellaveco copper project owned by Anglo American PLC. (AAUKY, AA.UK) are among the billion-dollar projects being delayed for mainly bureaucratic reasons.
When these projects come into production, he said, Peru will double its copper output.
Southern Copper Corp.'s Tia Maria copper project has run into delays due to community protests.
According to the latest estimates from Chile's Copper Commission, Peru slipped last year from being the second largest copper producer in the world, to being the third largest, behind Chile and China.
The Chilean commission estimates that in 2010 China produced about 1.25 million tons and Peru about 1.19 million tons.
-By Sophie Kevany, Dow Jones Newswires; 51(1)-989 038 043; email@example.com