MMG’s troubled Las Bambas copper mine in Peru still has no timeline for expansion

The main camp at Las Bambas is called Anta Wasi, or “house of copper” in Quechua. (Image courtesy of MMG.)

Chinese miner MMG said on Thursday it still has no time frame for when it will be able to build a second open pit to ramp up production at its Las Bambas mine in Peru.

Las Bambas, whose operations have often been disrupted by protests from neighboring indigenous communities, accounts for 2% of global copper supply.

The Peruvian government authorized the construction of the mine’s second open pit, known as Chalcobamba, earlier this year and the company had expected to begin operations by the end of the year.

But the project was put on hold due to protests from the indigenous Huancuire community that used to own that land.

“When an enduring agreement is reached, Las Bambas will immediately progress the substantial development of the Chalcobamba pit,” MMG said in its half-year financial results.

The company also lowered its guidance for copper production for the year at Las Bambas to 240,000 tonnes from between 300,000 and 320,000 tonnes due to a protest that forced the mine to shut down for over a month.

Indigenous communities neighboring Las Bambas and along the road that it uses to transport its copper have often protested the company, saying that its immense mineral wealth has not translated into better living conditions for them, as promised at the mine’s inception.

MMG posted a profit of $80 million in the first six months of the year, down from $584 million a year earlier due to protests at Las Bambas and because of falling copper prices.

Peru is the world’s No. 2 copper producer and mining is a key source of tax revenue.

(By Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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