Peru

Peru_womanThe Republic of Peru is located on the western coast of South America. Peru achieved independence as a country from Spain in 1821. Its official language is Spanish. Peru is the 20th largest country by surface area, at approximately 1.3 million km 2. Water accounts for 8.8% of this area. Its total GDP is estimated at $127 billion in 2008.

The extractive sector is considered a major industry in Peru, with extractive industries accounting for 15% of the economy. The country's main exports include copper, gold and zinc.

Additional Information and Highlights

Demographics

Population: 29 million
Life expectancy: 70.74 years
Average age: 26.1 years
Major regions: Ancash - 1,039,415; Arequipa – 1,140,810; Cajamarca – 1,359,023; Cusco – 1,171,503; Junín – 1,091,619; La Libertad – 1,539,774; Lambayeque – 1,091,535; Lima (Capital) – 864,853; Piura – 1,630,772; Puno – 1,245,508
Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages

Natural resources

Copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas

Natural hazards

Earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, mild volcanic activity

Government

Constitutional republic
Head of state, also head of government: President Alan GARCIA Perez (since 28 July 2006)
Legal structure: based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Legislation

Over the last decade the government has switched roles from being an active agent/participant in the mining sector to a regulatory and supportive role. The legal framework has, over the last 20 years, made obtaining rights easier, offered more protections to ventures and contracts, and created a climate that is more favorable to investment. In just the last year alone, Peru has signed with Canada a balanced free trade agreement (encouraging corporate socially responsible practices), a progressive and compelling labor agreement, as well as an environmental agreement that seeks to ensure a greater level of protection and cooperation.

Existing projects

There is currently a major gold rush underway in the Amazon jungle of Peru. An estimated 30,000 miners have begun work in the region, not all of which is legal.

Some Canadian companies operating in Peru include: Talisman Energy Inc., Rio Alto, Teck, and Barrick Gold

Major issues

  • Overdependence on minerals and metals subjects the economy to fluctuations in world prices, and poor infrastructure precludes the spread of growth to Peru's non-coastal areas
  • Poor water supply and sanitation services; of the estimated 29 million people in Peru, approximately 6.4 million have no access to water services whatsoever, and 11.3 million have no access to sanitation services
  • Anti-mine movement; community conflicts and protests usually arise when faced with a new mine. This is due in part to the fact that local governments are often corrupt and spend most of the profit turned by mining companies carelessly and unfairly. Some locals claim big mining companies are demolishing historical monuments, polluting rivers and streams that provide clean drinking water, and destroying the environment.

For more information on Peru, its mining activities and regulations, and CSR, please consult the tabs to the left.