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MMG resumes Las Bambas copper mine shipments

Las Bambas is considered the world’s ninth-largest copper mine with an output of about 400,000 tonnes per year. (Image courtesy of MMG.)

Chinese miner MMG (HKG: 1208) said on Thursday it had resumed the transportation of shipments to and from its Las Bambas copper mine, one of Peru’s largest, as nearby roadblocks have been lifted. 

The company had halted operations at Las Bambas due to protests earlier this week in the nearby province of Chumbivilcas, along Peru’s major copper transport corridor. 

MMG said it was continuing talks with both the Peruvian government and community representatives, which are scheduled for next week.  

“To date, production has not been significantly impacted and concentrate trucking, people and re-supply logistics are underway,” it said. 

Locals are demanding more logistics transport contracts, as well as classification of their communities as an area of direct influence by Las Bambas operations. This would mean compensation for the land used to build the mining road, as well as actions to reduce damage to their crops caused by the large number of trucks using the road every day. 

Locals want compensation for the land used to build the mining road, as well as actions to reduce damage to their crops caused by the large number of trucks using the road every day

The miner said locals had rejected earlier company proposals for social development.

The announcement follows the company’s announcement last week that it was planning to invest $2 billion in Las Bambas to maintain production around 400,000 tonnes per annum in the medium term. 

It also comes less than a month after a bus in the Peruvian Andes transporting contract workers at Las Bambas fell off a cliff, killing 16 people and injuring two.  

Road blockades, frequently followed by shipment suspensions, have been a common issue affecting the massive copper mine since its 2015-16 ramp-up.   

Overall, the mine was disrupted for more than 100 days in 2019, with more than 70 communities along the 450 km road to the Port of Matarani demanding action from MMG and the national government over emissions from trucks and reduction of their farmlands.  

A three-week-long roadblock protest staged at the end of 2020 prevented MMG from exporting 189,000 tonnes of copper concentrate worth $530 million from the mine.  

Las Bambas is the world’s ninth-largest copper mine, with an output of about 400,000 tonnes of the industrial metal per year, or about 2% of global production. 

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