A Peruvian community will block a key mining road used by MMG’s Las Bambas copper mine in protest after failed negotiations with the Andean nation’s government, a community leader told Reuters on Monday.
Victor Limaypuma, the President of the Cotabambas Defense Front, said the blockade will run indefinitely and affect all vehicles going through the road. Peru is the world’s No. 2 copper producer and Las Bambas is the country’s fourth largest copper mine.
The mine is located in the Cotabambas province in the Peruvian Andes, where it has faced significant local opposition since it started operating in 2016. Local leaders have blocked the dirt road used by the mine to transport the copper, known as the ‘mining corridor,’ for more than 300 days since then.
Leaders like Limaypuma say Las Bambas has brought pollution to the area and little in the way of economic development.
The presidency of Pedro Castillo has also raised hopes in mining regions, where he gained overwhelming support. Castillo wants to extract higher taxes from miners in part to solve longstanding tensions with the rural communities around them.
The road is a key point of tension, as hundreds of trucks go through it every day, disrupting the lives of those who live near it.
The blockade comes weeks after Peru’s government struck a deal with a separate group to avoid blockades that threaten copper production at Las Bambas. The deal was signed with the Chumbivilcas province and will allow residents to take mining jobs with Las Bambas.
Still, the government has yet to ink a similar deal with the Cotabambas province, which neighbors Chumbivilcas
(By Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Sandra Maler)