(Corrects in second paragraph that parent company MMG and notLas Bambas is planning to double production in 2025 and doubleagain in 2030) By Marcelo Rochabrun and Marco Aquino LIMA, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Chinese miner MMG Ltd expects to invest $2 billion in the next five years toexpand its troubled Las Bambas copper mine in Peru and is eyeingpotential acquisitions to further increase production, anexecutive said on Tuesday.
Las Bambas General Manager Edgardo Orderique said at thePerumin mining conference parent company MMG is hoping to doublecopper production by 2025 and double it again by 2030.
The mine is expected to produce 240,000 tonnes of copper in2022, after years of production drops due to falling ore gradesand social conflicts.
Peru is the world's No. 2 copper producer and Las Bambas isone of the largest producers of the red metal in the world.
Las Bambas opened in 2016 in the Peruvian Andes, but hassuffered recurrent disruptions from indigenous communities whosay its vast mineral wealth has not translated into betterliving conditions.
Those disruptions reached a new peak this year whenmembers of two neighboring communities settled inside LasBambas, forcing the company to suspend all operations for over50 days.
"The cost of the conflict since 2016 to date is of about 528days of interrupted operations, almost a year and a half that wehave gone through this situation," Orderique said.
Most of the disruptions affected copper trucking, ratherthan copper mining.
Las Bambas is currently trying to build a second pit butwork has been halted due to opposition from the indigenousHuancuire community, which used to own the land where theproject is slated to be built. Orderique said he hoped that the pit can be built in the"following months" to compensate for falling ore grades at itscurrent pit.
MMG has previously said it will not go forward with theproject until it can reach an enduring agreement with theHuancuire community. (Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun and Marco Aquino; Editing byRichard Pullin and Josie Kao)Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.