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LIMA (Reuters) - Canadian miner HudBay Minerals hopes to buy at least one greenfield project in the next year and expects to boost annual copper output nearly fivefold by 2016, the company's CEO told Reuters on Thursday.
Chief Executive David Garofalo said higher industry costs and lower metal prices mean medium-sized companies like HudBay HBM.TO are better positioned than ever to buy up small exploration firms.
"We're interested in a lot of junior opportunities ... they're really living on fumes a lot of them and that's afforded us a lot of opportunities to look at the next generation of projects," Garofalo said on the sidelines of a mining conference in Peru.
He declined to mention which firms HudBay is interested in.
"We hope that in the next year or so we'll be able to tuck in a greenfield opportunity or two," Garofalo said.
HudBay produces copper, zinc and precious metals at mines in Manitoba.
The company's annual copper output is already scheduled to rise in coming years, with two large new mines being built now - Lalor in Canada and Constancia in Peru.
Constancia, which will likely produce 120,000 tons per year in its first five years, is halfway built and should be fully operational in 2015, Garofalo said.
The firm expects to produce around 40,000 tons of copper this year after closing two mines in Canada in 2012. Next year output is expected to rise to around 70,000 to 80,000 tons.
"And when Constancia is up and running we'll be in excess of 220,000 tons of copper per year," Garofalo said.
Greenfield projects are typically ones built on unused land with nothing that first has to be demolished or remodeled.
Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Steve Orlofsky