LIMA, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Shares of Hochschild Mining
collapsed 27% on Monday after Peru's government ruled
any operational extensions for its flagship Inmaculada silver
mine, but mining executives and government officials also said
they had had a "productive" late night meeting to ease tensions.
Mining is key to the economy of Peru, which is the world's
No. 2 producer of copper and silver.
Peru's prime minister, Mirtha Vasquez, said on Friday that a
group of four mines - including two owned by Hochschild - would
not be granted any further operational extensions due to
environmental concerns and would instead close down in the near
"We haven't discussed anything specific," said Raul Jacob,
who heads the National Society of Mining, Energy and Oil,
following a meeting with Vasquez. "I do want to say there was
very good open dialog, very productive."
Vasquez agreed "dialog had been very productive."
"We have expressed our will to respect the rule of law (and)
private investment," she told reporters.
The original announcement triggered a furious reaction from
mining executives over the weekend and caused Hochschild's
shares to plummet as much as 57%, before paring losses for a 27%
drop, the worst for the London-listed miner.
Vasquez's new statement follows remarks from Peru's vice
minister of mines, who appeared to backtrack on the closure
decision in an interview on Sunday night.
"If (the mining companies) have all the mechanisms to
present an extension, they can do so, the door is not closed,"
According to a government statement, Vasquez's initial
announcement said the mines would be closed as soon as possible
on environmental concerns, with "no extensions, whether for
exploitation, exploration or even shutdown."
Peru is currently in the process of proposing higher taxes
on miners, and socialist President Pedro Castillo has said the
additional revenue will be crucial to fund social programs.
The announcement triggered broader remarks about the sector.
"No information suggests that the government will close
other mines but we cannot rule out it will go after large(r)
mines," Bank of America said in a note, in which it also
downgraded Hochschild from "buy" to "underperform."
Hochschild said it had not received any formal communication
from Peru's government on the matter and had found out through
the press and social media.
"Shes just gone rogue. That arm of the government doesnt
have the right to do what it did," said a source with direct
knowledge of company discussions. "We'll take the arbitration
route if it comes to that - most definitely."
In a statement, Hochschild Chief Executive Officer Ignacio
Bustamante said the company was prepared to enter "into a
dialog with the government in order to resolve any
Any ruling in Peru would also hurt Hochschild's Pallancata
The Inmaculada mine is the company's biggest, representing
over 60% of its cash flow, according to its 2020 annual report.
Both mines account for the bulk of the company's production.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino in Lima and Pushkala Aripaka in
Additional reporting by Zandi Shabalala in London and Marcelo
Rochabrun in Lima
Editing by Bernadette Baum, Matthew Lewis and Sonya Hepinstall)