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UPDATE 1-Peru reports sharp drop in 2020 copper production due to pandemic

(Updates with zinc figures, additional context)

LIMA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Peru’s copper production plunged 12.5% to 2.15 million tonnes in 2020, the country’s Energy and Mines Ministry said on Monday, driven down by coronavirus-related restrictions that hammered output in the world’s second-largest producer of the red metal.

The ministry said gold production also dipped 32% in 2020, to 87.3 million fine grams.

Peruvian health authorities required the country’s sprawling gold and copper mines to sharply reduce staff between mid-March and May, prompting the sharp drop in output.

The ministry added that zinc production had also fallen 5.3% to 1.33 million tonnes.

Mining is a major economic engine in Peru, accounting for nearly 60% of the Andean nation’s exports. (Reporting by Marco Aquino, Writing by Dave Sherwood Editing by Paul Simao)

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