Xstrata Copper has received the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment approval from Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines for its $4.2bn Las Bambas copper project in Apurimac.

Las Bambas is a major, low-cost copper mine with an initial production capacity of 400,000t/year of copper in concentrate, along with gold, silver and molybdenum.

The firm expects to process the first ore from the mine in the second quarter of 2014 and enter into full production by the end of that year.

Xstrata Copper CEO Charlie Sartain said the Las Bambas project will see the firm’s total annual copper production increase by 50% to about 1.5 million tonnes by the end of 2014.