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By Teresa Cespedes
AREQUIPA, Peru, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Precious metals miner Hochschild Mining Plc is doubling down on efforts to find early-stage mining projects to acquire and is open to deposits that depart from its focus on silver and gold, the chief executive said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the mining convention Perumin in southern Peru, Ignacio Bustamante said the company was mostly looking at opportunities in mineral-rich countries in the Americas with investor-friendly laws, and mentioned Peru, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Canada and the United States.
“We’re looking at several different alternatives at the same time,” Bustamante told journalists after his presentation. “We’ve started to look for opportunities much more strongly than before and hopefully we can nail something down going forward.”
Bustamente said Hochschild, listed on the London Stock Exchange and headquartered in Lima, Peru, will continue to keep gold and silver as the focus of its business but would not rule out minerals as an “additional component in our portfolio.”
Hochschild’s strength is building underground mines with narrow mineral veins and can help exploration companies develop their finds, Bustamante said.
Hochschild operates three underground mines in southern Peru and one in southern Argentina. This year the company expects to produce 37 million silver equivalent ounces, up from about 35.5 million last year, Bustamante added. (Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Sandra Maler)