Peru May Lower Air Quality Standards To Attract New Operator For Polymetallic Smelter

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Peru’s Environment Ministry has issued a decree proposing that the country’s environmental quality standards be lowered in a bid to attract a buyer/operator for a polymetallic smelter located there — as part of President Pablo Kuczynski’s efforts to add refining capacity to the country’s copper export sector (the second largest in the world).

Amongst other things, the proposal would raise the legal emissions limit for sulfur dioxide to be in line with the limits of the country’s regional “neighbors” — Mexico, Chile, Colombia, etc.

Reuters provides more: “Finding a buyer for the paralyzed La Oroya plant and a small copper mine is part of President Pablo Kuczynski’s plans to ramp up Peru’s refining capacity to add value to the world’s second-biggest copper producer’s exports.

“But in a setback for Kuczynski’s market-friendly administration, three auctions this year to sell the complex failed to attract bids as interested companies waited to see the new standards, which could reduce the cost of needed upgrades. The government plans a new round of auctions before an August deadline to sell the plant.”

The new standards proposed by the Environment Ministry are now open to public comment — though only for a total of 10 days.

The previous owner of the smelter in question, Doe Run Peru, went bankrupt in 2009.

Well, it’s an interesting bit of news. While the proposed changes to legal emissions levels would effectively just bring Peru’s standards in line with those of other regional countries, for the sake or potentially increasing economic output, it would still result in higher levels of air pollution.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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