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Southern Copper says first quarter net profit drops 17.5 pct

LIMA, April 29 (Reuters) - Southern Copper Corp's net profit fell 17.5 percent to $388.2 million in the first quarter from the same period a year earlier, as lower metal prices weighed on sales, the company said on Monday.

The company's copper production rose 11.6 percent year-on-year in the Jan-March period, but net sales slipped 4.8 percent, Southern Copper said in its earnings statement. It added that it expects the Peruvian government to issue a construction license for its long-delayed Tia Maria project in coming months. (Reporting By Marco Aquino Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)