Blockades at Peru’s Las Bambas copper mine hit operations

Las Bambas copper operation. Photo by MMG.

The huge Las Bambas copper mine in Peru has started to reduce operations due to recent blockades, the mine said in a statement Thursday.

Las Bambas, owned by Chinese firm MMG Ltd, is one of the largest copper mines in the world, but has suffered frequent disruptions from largely poor indigenous communities.

Peru is the world’s No. 2 copper producer.

“We have been forced to begin a progressive slowdown of our operations since Oct. 31,” the company said in a statement.

“There is also the threat of new interruptions to our Las Bambas operations in the very near term.”

On top of frequent road blockades, Las Bambas fully stopped operations for over a month this year when two communities that had sold land to make way for the company re-entered those areas.

While one community was evicted, the other – called Huancuire – remains in the property, the company said.

Related: Peruvian Indigenous community wants to become a shareholder in Las Bambas mine

“The weakening of the state’s capacity to combat conflicts is notable,” Peruvian mining industry group SNMPE said in a statement.

The disruptions against Las Bambas follows protests at another large mine, Hochschild Mining PLC’s Inmaculada, which produces gold and silver.

Hochschild said on Wednesday that protest had been lifted.

(By Marco Aquino; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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