China Minmetals says it will begin construction of its Galeno copper mine in Peru in 2010 with production expected to commence in 2012.

China Minmetals assistant president Zhang Shoulian said the $1bn Galeno copper mine is currently undergoing comprehensive feasibility studies.

“After this, construction will start next year. Two years later, production will be launched,” Zhang said.

China Minmetals, which holds a 60% stake in Galeno, had previously declared a 2014 target for commencing operations at the mine.

A 2007 feasibility study on Galeno demonstrated that over two decades it would annually generate 144,000t of copper in concentrate, annually averaging 200,000t in the first five years.

Another stakeholder in Galeno is China’s publicly-traded Jiangxi Copper.

In November 2008, China Development Bank, Minmetals, Jiangxi Copper and Peru’s Banco de Credito signed a framework financing agreement for the project.

Minmetals is one of many Chinese companies investing in Peru. Chinese companies have pledged to invest $6bn in the Peruvian mining sector over the next three years.

China is continuing its strategy to target overseas resources through the economic slump, however, its strategy has hit a few barriers, particularly Chinalco’s failure to finalise a $19.5bn deal with Rio Tinto.

Zhang anticipated there would be no change in the Chinese mining firms’ attitude.

“They will keep trying. The government will continue to encourage companies to go abroad. China’s raw materials can’t satisfy demand, therefore going out is absolutely necessary,” he said.