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Peru aims to be world's No.1 copper producer: Minister

Peru aims to be world's No.1 copper producer: MinisterLima, March 6 - Peru could become the world's top copper producer in the next 10 or 15 years, thanks to the industry's strong growth, Energy and Mines Minister Jorge Merino said.

"At this time, in 2013, we are already in second place in production in the world of copper, and in 2016 we should be at 50 percent of the production Chile has and perhaps in some 10 or 15 years we will be the world's biggest copper producer," Merino told Radio Programas del Peru, or RPP, by telephone from Canada.

The Peruvian energy and mines minister was in Toronto to attend the 2013 International Convention Trade Show & Investors Exchange - Mining Investment Show organized by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, or PDAC.

Peru's copper production has been growing at around 20 percent anually, on average, and the Andean country is receiving 5 percent of the industry's exploration budget, or some $1.1 billion, Merino said.

Peru produced 1.3 million tonnes of copper in 2012 and output increased 5.2 percent, Energy and Mines Ministry figures show. (IANS)