Friday, September 17, 2004

UPDATED: New Backus CEO, UN Rep to Peru, Electrifying the North

Newmont's Troubles: Reuters has an update this morning on Yanacocha, "on ice after two weeks of protests, pending talks and a study of its impact on water supplies." (The Denver Post and Denver's Rocky Mountain News offer short summaries. The DP quotes Marco Arana saying the strike "may be nearing an end." Says the RMN, "an eyewitness said the protesters apparently came to a resolution with the Peruvian government to suspend all mining at the Cerro Quilish deposit and call for new negotiations with Denver's Newmont Mining Corp." ) NOTE: The Ministry of Mines and Energy "said late on Thursday in a highly technical statement that it had revoked part of a resolution awarding Yanacocha a permit to explore Cerro Quilish so as to allow dialogue between all sides and for a hydrological study to be carried out." ALSO: "Regional leaders called off the strike that had blocked roads around the mine with rocks and earth, preventing Yanacocha from getting supplies to miners," according to Minister Jaime Quijandria. The story also repeats quotes from yesterday by Carlos Santa Cruz, director of Newmont's South American operations and adds that "Santa Cruz said Yanacocha would not appeal the government's decision to suspend its exploration permit but said it was 'a lack of a general culture of support for investment'." NOTE: "Santa Cruz said earlier the company was two weeks behind on a $250 million investment plan because of the protests." Meanwhile, NEM reports that Newmont Mining "was downgraded to "sector performer" from "sector outperformer" by CIBC World Markets, which cited rising uncertainty at the company's key gold asset Yanacocha in Peru."

New Backus CEO: Just Drinks reports that Darío Castaño Zapata replaces Carlos Bentín Remy as CEO of Union de Cervecerias Peruanas Backus & Johnston. Bentín, who had been CEO since 1989, remains on the board of the company. The Bentín family sold their shares in the company to Grupo Cisneros in 2002. Castaño has been the President of Cervecería Nacional in Panama, also owned by Grupo Cisneros. Left unsaid was that Manuel Romero Caro was named ‘Executive Director’ of the Board. In Spanish: Backus has a press release on these changes and a colourful powerpoint document as well. See Also: This August 2002 Caretas piece on the company sale.

UN Rep to Peru: The United Nations announced that Gabriela Rodríguez Pizarro, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, will visit Peru from 20 to 30 September 2004, at the invitation of the Peruvian Government. NOTE: "During the visit the Special Rapporteur will focus on the causes and consequences of emigration in Peru and the consular protection and assistance offered by the Government to Peruvian nationals abroad." ALSO: "Ms. Rodriguez will begin her official mission in Lima and then visit Tacna and Tumbes."

More Flight to Peru: Polar Air Cargo announced in a press release (not yet on their press release page) that they have "begun offering service to Lima on its Boeing 747 freighter aircraft. The once-weekly flight leaves from Miami on Friday and travels via Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Lima and back to Miami on Saturday." According to Maria Chavez, Polar's Director of Sales for Latin America, "We look forward to providing a premium service for the Peruvian market into the United States, with unbeatable connections into Asia."

Petroperu Doubles Profit: Gestion reports that Alejandro Narvaez, president of the Peruvian state owned Petroperu, informed the company has posted net profits of S/.133million from January to August, a figure that doubles the target established to it by Fonafe of S/.78million for the whole 2004 period." NOTE: "Narvaez observed there are a series of procedures that harm the speed of investments from Petroperu, consequently hinders the company profitability and its ability to compete with private oil companies. For instance, the fast way to modernize the Talara petroleum refinery would be a decree exempting Petroperu to fulfill some norms." In Spanish: See the August 2004 edition of Petroperu’s Boletín Mensual.

Electrifying the North: BNAmericas reports that Peruvian transmission concessionaire Red de Energía del Perú (REP) has completed construction on the Peruvian stretch of a 230kV interconnection with Ecuador, REP's parent, Colombia's state transmission company ISA, said in a statement Thursday. The Peruvian stretch of the line runs 51km from Zarumilla to Zorritos, and took 11 months to build and cost US$7mn.

Oil Contingencies: BNAmericas reports that Peru "has approved establishing a contingency fund to protect domestic consumers from the impact of fluctuating world oil prices on domestic fuel prices," according to Minister of Mines and Energy Jaime Quijandría. NOTE: "The fund, known as the Fondo para la Estabilización de Precios de los Combustibles Derivados del Petróleo, is designed to absorb the impact of fluctuating world oil prices by building up a credit when prices fall and paying out a subsidy when prices rise." ALSO: "The government will guarantee the fund for up to 60mn soles (US$9mn), Quijandría said." The fund will be valid for a period of 180 days, after which it can be renewed. In Spanish: See the decree about the Fondo noted in Wednesday’s El Peruano and CPN Radio.

Why Not Peru? The Los Angeles Times has a humour piece by comedian Bill Maher on the USA presidential campaign that begins like this: "Let's stop re-fighting the Vietnam War on the campaign trail and re-fight it where it'll do some good: in Vietnam. That's right, let's stop mucking around and just … reinvade Vietnam." The piece ends like this: "It's about us, and our need for closure and completion and all that other stuff Dr. Phil talks about. ... [Now that] Vietnam is behind us. Now let's go kick the heck out of Peru."

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