Peru's gold output seen flat or falling again this year

Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:08pm EDT
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By Teresa Cespedes

LIMA, April 17 (Reuters) - Gold production in Peru, the world's sixth biggest exporter of the precious metal, will likely either plateau or dip slightly this year compared with 2013, mining companies, analysts and the government said.

Gold output will fall by at least 4 percent in 2014 to between 4.4 million and 4.6 million ounces, according to company and analyst estimates.

But the government hopes it can repeat the same level of production posted last year of 4.8 million ounces, deputy mines minister Guillermo Shinno said.

"This is not going to be a year when we grow in gold production," Shinno said. "But we hope with the expansion of smaller mines, we can maintain production."

The Andean country's production of the yellow metal has shrunk by a third since peaking at 6.7 million ounces in 2005.

Production has been softening as gold deposits dwindle at aging mines and explorations and new projects have stalled on approvals, community opposition and financing hurdles.

Barrick Gold's Pierina mine wound down production in recent months and is in the process of closing.

Peru's biggest gold mine, Yanacocha, controlled by Newmont Mining and junior partner Buenaventura , posted a 24-percent drop in output last year.   Continued...