MMG suspends copper output guidance after Las Bambas protests in Peru

Las Bambas mine in Peru. Image courtesy of MMG

Chinese miner MMG Ltd on Monday said it had suspended its copper production targets for the year following a 60% output drop due to a long protest at its Las Bambas mine in the Peruvian Andes, which significantly disrupted operations.

MMG had previously expected to produce 300,000-320,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate during the year at Las Bambas. But during the first half of the year, it managed to produce only 101,000 tonnes, the company said.

The company did not publish new guidance but added it would do so in mid-August when it is scheduled to release its financial results.

Las Bambas is one of the world’s largest copper mines but it has been repeatedly disrupted by escalating protests since it opened in 2016, culminating in a 50-day operational shutdown earlier this year.

Indigenous communities near the mine and along the dirt road it uses to transport copper onto a port have often staged protests against the mine, complaining that its immense wealth has not trickled down to them.

In April, the neighboring communities of Fuerabamba and Huancuire both entered Las Bambas property and settled inside, causing the production halt.

While MMG said the mine is currently operating at full capacity, tensions remain high after a recent truce with Fuerabamba and Huancuire expired without new agreements.

MMG said Las Bambas production had fallen 60% in the second quarter to 32,042 tonnes of copper in concentrate compared with a year ago due to the protests.

(By Marcelo Rochabrun and Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Mark Porter and Marguerita Choy)

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