LIMA (Commodity Online) : Latin America's number one gold producer, Peru is expected to fully recover from a recent slump in output once production starts at the Minas Conga gold mine.

According to Peru's mining ministry, country's gold production fell 4.23% during the first four months of 2010 compared to the same period last year. . In April, yellow metal production was down 20.6% year-on-year.

The decrease was largely a result of a drop in output at Yanacocha, Latin America's largest gold mine. Yanacocha, in Cajamarca region, is expected to see production fall by 500,000oz this year compared to 2009.

Minas Conga, a JV between US-based Newmont and local miner Buenaventura begins production in 2015, the ministry said.

Minas Conga, located east of Yanacocha, will have average output over the first five years of 650,000-750,000oz/y gold. Both are 51.35%-controlled by Newmont with Buenaventura holding 43.65% and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation owning the remainder.

Output will partially recover later this year and in 2011 thanks to the expected start of production at La Zanja in July. However, it will not be enough to compensate for the decline at Yanacocha.

La Zanja, which is 53.06% controlled by Buenaventura with Newmont holding the remainder, is expected to produce some 30,000oz this year and 100,000oz in 2011.

Peru was world's sixth largest gold producer last year.