(Adds details on Peruvian mine output, quote from minister,
comment from mining company, industry association, paragraphs
LIMA, March 20 Heavy rains in Peru have
disrupted train transport of minerals from the country's central
region to the Pacific Coast, and the train line could take at
least 15 days to fix, Vice President and Transport Minister
Martin Vizcarra said on Monday.
The government is coordinating with mining companies to find
alternative routes, Vizcarra said. The intense floods have
killed more than 70 people and destroyed tens of thousands of
homes since the start of the rainy season.
Central Peru accounts for at least one-fifth of Peru's
metals production, according to the National Society of Mining,
Petroleum and Energy (SNMPE), an industry group. Peru is the
world's second-largest copper producer, the third-largest zinc
and silver producer and the sixth-largest gold producer.
The region is home to Chinalco Mining Corp's
300,000 tonne-per-year Toromocho copper mine, a zinc and silver
mine owned by Volcan Compania Minera and some
precious metals mines owned by Compania de Minas Buenaventura
An SNMPE spokesman said warehouses at Peru's El Callao port
had enough supplies to fulfill companies' commitments for up to
Alvaro Barrenechea, director of corporate affairs at
Chinalco's Peruvian affiliate, said the company would be
affected if the railway does not re-open within a month.
"I expect the situation will improve in 10 days," he said.
Speaking to local radio station RPP, Vizcarra said at least
one kilometer of the rail line that links the center of the
country with the coast was destroyed by flooding from the Rimac
river in the outskirts of Lima.
The intense rains began a week ago, due to an unexpected
climate phenomenon known as "Coastal El Nino" that could last
"This railway was attached to the river bank," said
Vizcarra, who also serves as Peru's vice president. "We need the
river flow, which is rising, to recede, and that will not happen
in less than 15 days. Then, we will be able to install the
(Reporting by Ursula Scollo and Marco Aquino; Writing by
Caroline Stauffer and Luc Cohen; Editing by David Gregorio)