The company said it had commenced limited pre-development activities including haul road construction and site preparation work as it worked toward completion of the remaining individual land-user agreements to allow for full site access. Pre-stripping activities are expected to commence once all of the individual land-user agreements have been completed.
"We are pleased that the government and the community were able to complete the [prior consultation] process despite challenges caused by the pandemic. This milestone demonstrates the strong relationships with our local communities," said Hudbay Minerals' president and CEO Peter Kukielski.
Pampacancha is a satellite deposit 4km from the mill at Hudbay's Constancia polymetallic mine, which the company says is the lowest cost openpit sulphide copper mine in South America. It has higher grades but with smaller reserves of 40 million tonnes.
Constancia produced 113,825 tonnes of copper in 2019 with Pampacancha expected to produce over 100,000 tonnes per year of copper following a US$70 million development.
"Although we had already assumed that Pampacancha would be mined this year, successful completion of the permitting process instills confidence in the grade and production at Constancia this year, but also in the community engagement strategy, which would have longer-term benefits as further properties are permitted for exploration and operations," said BMO analyst Jackie Przybylowski in a research note.
Shares in Hudbay Minerals are trading at C$8.78, valuing the company at $2.4 billion.