After a uniquely challenging 2020, what is the state of the Peruvian economy at the beginning of 2021?
The Peruvian economy has experienced a dynamic recovery since before the second lockdown in February 2021, which was not as strict as the first lockdown as a balance between economy and health was considered. This recovery has been due to two factors: first, there has been a huge monetary and fiscal injection into the economy; second, the Peruvian economy is very dynamic and volatile, with high levels of informality, which allows the country to adapt quickly to changes. We still need to wait to see the effects of the second lockdown, but according to the IMF, it is likely that Peru will experience one of the strongest recoveries in the region. The expectations about the arrival of the vaccine give us hope that our country will not have to experience another strict lockdown during 2021.
Considering the high metals prices and robust outlook, what role do you see mining playing in Peru’s economic recovery?
The mining sector is crucial for Peru’s economic recovery and macroeconomic stability, as it generates resources and investment, which at the same time attract more investment. It is not possible to think about fiscal consolidation and sustainable growth without the mining sector, and this needs to be understood by our country’s authorities.
What do you think could be done to improve the climate for foreign investment in Peru?
Peru has experienced constant changes of policies in recent years. What the country needs, rather than more measures, is political stability and leadership, which needs to be built around a common vision. Mining needs to be included in this vision as a fundamental basis for the country’s development. Once we have stable leadership and have decided which direction we want our country to go in, the right measures will come. On the economic side, it is necessary to continue promoting macroeconomic stability, commercial openness and private investment as an engine for development.
What could mining companies do better to mitigate the risks of social bottlenecks?
It is important for mining companies to become socially responsible and to pay attention to ESG considerations. Before, ESG issues were rather theoretical, but currently they need to be put into practice, especially considering that private companies will play a fundamental role in the post-pandemic scenario. Companies can guide government authorities in a public-private association in order for mining to become more accepted by society, and social norms need to come from credible institutions. In addition, Peru needs strong leadership and political stability to establish a clear vision for the mining sector, which has been paralyzed for quite a long time.
Would you like to increase the participation of mining companies listing on the BVL?
The BVL already has a strong participation from the mining sector, which represents almost half of all its listed companies. If participation increases even further it will certainly help, as new companies can provide a greater variety of instruments. However, the Lima Stock Exchange’s main challenge is that it does not have enough liquidity, which is a problem derived from a change in the capital markets. More liquidity will attract more companies, and this is a role that we have to share with the whole financial system.
In February, IIMP announced Rumbo a PERUMIN 2021. Can you tell us about this series of events?
The pandemic has made it very challenging to organize PERUMIN, so it has been postponed to a later date to protect the participants. That being said, we did not want to waste a crucial year, as 2021 is Peru´s 200th anniversary and an election year. Therefore, we decided to carry out Rumbo a PERUMIN as a combination of virtual and physical events to discuss how to build a common vision for the mining sector and to establish a minimum consensus. The objective is to make this event as decentralized and as inclusive as possible, with hybrid events in the main mining regions of Peru, including Arequipa, Apurimac and Cajamarca.