Peruvian farmer who died in protest against MMG’s Las Bambas mine was shot to death — Gov’t

A Peruvian farmer who died Friday during protests against MMG’s giant Las Bambas copper mine, which came online this year, was shot to death, authorities have confirmed Monday.

Interior Minister Carlos Basombrío said the victim died from a bullet wound to the head, presumably fired by Peruvian police while they attempted to disperse more than 200 protesters who had blocked an access road to the mine, the country’s largest copper operation.

About 200 protesters blocked an access road to the mine on Friday, protesting against ongoing noise and high levels of dust in the area close to Las Bambas.

The government has now launched an internal probe to determine who authorized police intervention, local paper La República reports (in Spanish).

The group was protesting against the ongoing noise and high levels of dust close to the road used by trucks that carry the Chinese-owned mine's copper concentrates, Congressman Richard Arce, who represents the highland region of Apurimac, home to Las Bambas, said last week.

Peru’s economy has picked up pace in recent months mostly thanks to fresh output coming on stream from Las Bambas and other new mines, which are expected to make the country the world's second biggest copper producer.

Las Bambas produced 35,000 tonnes of the red metal in August, or almost a fifth of Peru’s overall output, official data shows. The operation is set to deliver 400,000 tonnes of copper per year during the first five years of production.