Freeport McMoran’s majority owned Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru, the country’s largest, is taking the government to the World Bank’s international court to solve a long-dragged dispute over unpaid royalties.

In 2018, Peru’s tax agency Sunat said that Cerro Verde
had a pending debt of 1,100 million soles ($320 million) in royalties corresponding
to the period between 2006 and 2011 .

The company argued it had no obligation to pay such amount
because its tax contract dated back to 1998, prior to the mining royalties
law passed in 2004.

The agreement, valid until 2013, was renewed in 2014 for a
further 14 years.

By the end of last year, however, the company paid 711.1 million soles ($214.4m) of the debated royalties under protest .

“This arbitration procedure will not affect our current operations,” Cerro Verde said in a statement. “The amounts discussed have been paid, under protest, and are promptly related to past activities.”

The company added it did “everything possible” to reach an amicable solution with the Peruvian government, adding that it was confident a “fair and equitable resolution” could be reach soon.

Cerro Verde, with an output of over 400,000 tonnes of copper
a year, is a joint venture between Freeport (53.6%), Sumitomo and Peru’s Buenaventura.

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