, ZURICH, Mar 8 – Anglo-Swiss mining giant Xstrata said Tuesday that Peru has approved its environmental impact study for a $4.2 billion copper project, a move that could lead to final approval for construction of the mine.
"The approval paves the way to complete the final permitting for construction to commence as scheduled in the third quarter of 2011," it said in a statement.
Xstrata\’s Las Bambas mining project covers a 35,000-hectare (86,500-acre) area in the Apurimac region 800 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of Lima.
The group signed the billion-dollar deal with Lima in September to develop the copper mine, and expects it to begin full production in three years.
Xstrata Copper chief executive Charlie Sartain said that by the end of 2014, its assets in Peru will contribute to a 50 percent increase in the group\’s total annual copper production to almost 1.5 million tonnes.