Peru’s environmental regulator imposes new controls on Las Bambas’ trucks

OEFA personnel conducting an environmental assessment on the Southern Runway. (Image courtesy of Peru’s Environmental Assessment and Control Agency).

Peru’s Environmental Assessment and Control Agency, known as OEFA, ordered Minera Las Bambas to change the way it transports copper concentrate through the Southern Runway (Corredor Vial Sur) between the towns of Velille and Ccapacmarca, located in the Chumbivilcas province.

Las Bambas is a joint venture project between MMG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China’s Guoxin International Investment, and CITIC Metal Co. Ltd.

According to a three-month-long environmental assessment carried out by OEFA and community members, Las Bambas’ trucks are contravening environmental regulations when it comes to air, noise, land and water pollution. 

Peru’s environmental regulator imposes new controls for Las Bambas’ trucks
Air monitoring station near Velille. (Image courtesy of Peru’s Environmental Assessment and Control Agency).

Thus, the company was asked to install dust suppressors in the towns that surround the road used by its trucks and make sure to spray water on the way prior to the trucks passing, in order to reduce the spread of dust particles. 

The miner was also urged to stop using the road that connects the towns of Velille and Ccapacmarca between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m., a measure that will be monitored by the environmental authority in real-time through GPS devices installed on the vehicles. Satellite technology is also expected to allow OEFA staff to verify whether the trucks are compliant with speed and load limits.

The regulator asked Las Bambas to incorporate its demands into the company’s environmental assessment either by updating or modifying it, an order that can be appealed by the miner. 

OEFA also said that it will place permanent supervision on the Southern Runway to make sure Las Bambas doesn’t break the rules. 

The government body has installed an air monitoring station in Velille and will soon install a second one in Ccapacmarca. 

The Southern Runway, whose legal name is national highway CU-135, has been a contentious area for Las Bambas this year. During the first quarter, a 12-kilometre section was blocked for 68 days by protesters from the Nueva Fuerabamba community, whose farmland is cut by the road. The blockaders said that the government illegally turned CU-135 into a national highway to be able to ink a deal with the miner.

Las Bambas uses the runway to get copper concentrate from its massive mine, considered the world’s ninth-largest copper mine with a production of 385,000 tonnes in 2018, to the port of Matarani for shipment.

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