Chinese metals company Chinalco said its $2.2bn mine in Peru is on track to start construction this year.

The Toromocho mine, with a 35-year life, will be developed by Chinalco’s Peruvian unit and is expected to open in late 2012, Chinalco head of Toromocho project Gerald Wolfe said.

The company is waiting on approvals for its environmental impact study which will be carried out in the next few months.

The mine, which had previously been considered unviable, is expected to produce the equivalent of about 250,000t of fine copper a year along with small amounts of silver and molybdenum.

Annual output of copper concentrate is expected to be about 900,000t.

Wolfe told Reuters current copper prices are adequate to build the mine and can help provide a reasonable scale of return.

There are also plans to build a $100m facility at the Toromocho mine to move minerals from a train yard to a shipping port with a sealed duct.