Peru Copper has signed an agreement with Peru’s ministry of energy and mines and Proinversion to fund the construction of a water treatment plant to treat acid drainage water from the Kingsmill tunnel. The tunnel was constructed in the mid-1930s by Cerro de Pasco Corp specifically to drain mine workings and it crosses beneath mining concessions in the Morococha mining district, where it collects acid water.
The water collected by the tunnel is highly acidic with a pH of approximately 4.4 and contains a number of different metals, all of which are believed to be over permissible health limits. The tunnel currently discharges water into the Yauli River at a rate of 1,200 litres/s. The Yauli then empties into the Mantaro River, which is a source of irrigation for an important agricultural district, the Mantaro Valley.
Peru Copper has placed $15 million in an escrow account to fund the design, construction and start-up of the treatment plant. The ministry of energy and mines, Proinversion and Peru Copper will form a joint committee to oversee the bidding process, construction and operation of the plant.
Charles Preble, President and CEO of Peru Copper, said "We are extremely pleased to be able to accelerate the construction of a water treatment plant to treat water from the Kingsmill tunnel. Although we have not yet exercised our option to acquire concessions in the Morococha areas, we believe that starting the water treatment now to eliminate a major source of pollution is the right thing to do. Further, we view our Toromocho copper project as a partnership among the company, the Peruvian government and the Junin region and the water treatment plant will benefit all three."
Peru Copper is involved in the acquisition and exploration of potentially mineable deposits of copper in Peru. On 11 June 2003, Peru Copper entered into the Toromocho option agreement with Empresa Minera del Centro del Peru S.A., a Peruvian state-owned mining company, whereby Empresa Minera granted Peru Copper the option to acquire its interest in the mining concessions and related assets of the Toromocho project.