Peru is worldwide known as a mining country. Investments and projects are being developed in the country by global leading mining companies. Peru is the second-biggest producer in the world of silver and copper. At a Latin American level, it is the number one producer of silver and one of the top gold producers.
But what makes Peru such a big player in the mining industry? Well, as it turns out, The Andes Mountain range is one of the richest sources of mineral deposits in the world. The Andes happen to be the spine of Peru.
To have a better understanding, we define mineral deposits as natural accumulations of minerals in the earth’s crust, in form of one or several mineral bodies which can be extracted at the present time or in an immediate future.
The most common type of mineral deposits we can find in Peru are hydrothermal deposits, which in essence are the result from the circulation of hot waters in the Earth’s crust, leading to the accumulation of minerals in fractures and cavities.
Sources of hydrothermal solutions include seawater and meteoric water circulating through fractured rock, formational brines (water trapped within sediments at deposition) and metamorphic fluids created by dehydration of hydrous minerals during metamorphism.
Now, within hydrothermal deposits, the most common ones we can find in Peru are porphyry copper, skarn, and epithermal deposits, each one of them with distinctive characteristics:
Porphyry copper deposits originate in or nearby porphyritic intrusions which were saturated by water as they intruded in shallow areas of the crust (less than 6 km depth). The developing hydrothermal systems are characterized by the interaction of fluids coming directly from the parental intrusive and from meteoric surface waters.
Epithermal deposits form at depths of less than 1 km in a hydrothermal system dominated by surface waters with only a small contribution by magmatic fluids.
Skarn deposits form at the contact between intrusive rock and calcareous or clastic rocks which are rich in carbonate. The deposits occur on or near the margins of the intrusions and are the result of the replacement of the country rock by hydrothermal fluids carrying high metal concentrations outward from the intrusion.
The Andes Mountain range, being the result of a subduction zone with ideal conditions for hydrothermal deposits, gives Peru a strong natural advantage in the mining industry, with a wide variety of minerals available for production.
https://www.cyanoguard.com/blog/how-can-latin-america-improve-its-role-as-a-key-player-in-gold-production “How Can Latin America Improve Its Role as a Key Player in Gold Production?”
https://es.calameo.com/read/000820129e12557977ef7 “Yacimientos minerales del Perú: Tipos y distribución – Dr Humberto Chirif”
https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=f9dc856397154c47a1945f1a3dfc5661#:~:text=The%20Andes%20Mountain%20Range%20was,most%20commonly%20a%20Continental%20plate). “The Andes Mountain Range”