Ongoing anti-mining protests in Peru, triggered by the recent approval of a now halted construction permit for Southern Copper’s (NYSE:SCCO) $1.4 billion Tia Maria project in Arequipa, have extended to Anglo American and Mitsubishi’s $5 billion Quellaveco project, in the neighbouring region of Moquegua.
As road blocks and demonstrations enter a third day, community members continue to demand more employment opportunities and the use of local companies rather than contractors from outside the region.
Moquegua’s authorities claim that Anglo American has not met its commitment to hire 80% of the required labour locally. Instead, they say that only six out of ten people working at the mine site are from outside Moquegua, a charge the company has denied.
Anglo approved the project development in July 2018, saying the asset had the potential to transform the company’s business outlook.
First production at Quellaveco, which has the capacity to generate 300,000 tonnes of copper annually in its first 10 years of operation, is expected in 2022. Ore will be trucked from the mine, situated 3,500m above sea level in southern Peru, to a port 165km away.
Peru is the world’s No. 2 copper, zinc and silver producer and the sixth largest gold producer, but mining conflicts have blocked billions of dollars in potential investments over the past decade.