Over $21bn worth of mining projects delayed in Peru due to social conflict

Over $21bn worth of mining projects delayed in Peru due to social conflict

Peru's government declared martial law in parts of its southern highlands last week after protests against the $7.4 billion Las Bambas copper mine, owned by a consortium led by China’s MMG Ltd. resulted in at least three deaths. (Image via Twitter @NewsRevo)

Social conflicts and red tape have caused the delay of $21.5 billion worth of mining projects in recent years in Peru, one of the world’s largest gold, silver, copper and zinc producers, El Economista reports (in Spanish).

According to data from the Peruvian Institute of Economics, the country has lost $14.9 billion between 2010 and 2014 in mining exports revenue (based on 2007 prices) that never happened.

The South American country is the world’s No 3 copper producer and mining accounts for about 60% of its export earnings.

But President Ollanta Humala has struggled to resolve opposition from rural communities to mining since taking office in 2011, resulting in the suspension of several large projects after violent clashes between protesters and police across the nation.

Six people have been killed in anti-mining protests so far this year, including a police officer whose skull was fractured during May protests against Southern Copper’s (NYSE, LON: SCCO) $1.4 billion Tía María copper project.

Last week, the government had to declare martial law in parts of its southern highlands after protests against the $7.4 billion Las Bambas copper mine, owned by a consortium led by China’s MMG Ltd. resulted in at least three deaths.

During the 30-day period of such law, civil liberties such as freedom of association and movement are restricted, while police are allowed to enter houses without search warrants.