Nexa Resources, controlled by Brazilian holding company Votorantim SA, said on Tuesday it had temporarily suspended operations at its large Cerro Lindo zinc mine in Peru due to a road blockade by a local community that started last week.
Nexa’s announcement comes just as another large mine, MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas, is on the verge of suspending production due to a road blockade that started 25 days ago.
Mining conflicts are on the rise in Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper producer and an important producer of zinc, as empowered local communities are upping demands under the new administration of leftist President Pedro Castillo.
Nexa called the road blockade “illegal” and said it would only be carrying out “critical functions” during the suspension, which does not have an end date. It added that workers have not been able to leave the mine since the blockade started on Dec. 8.
Nexa did not say why local communities were protesting and Reuters could not reach them for comment. The government said on Monday that it was calling on local communities to allow for the transportation of “people and food” along the road.
Cerro Lindo is located in Peru’s Ica region, south of Lima. Nexa said it ranks among the 15 largest zinc mines in the world.
(By Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by David Gregorio)