Peru police carry out second day of evictions at halted Las Bambas mine

Protests at Las Bambas. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Peruvian police evicted indigenous protesters from MMG’s Las Bambas copper mine for a second day on Thursday, as they disperse a camp set up on company property, an adviser to the community told Reuters.

The action at the Chinese-owned Las Bambas, which supplies 2% of the world’s copper, follows Wednesday’s eviction of another community that had pitched its camp near the massive open pit of the mine.

“Yes, they are coming from three different directions, they are already coming in,” Alexander Raul, an adviser to the Huancuire indigenous community, said about Thursday’s police action.

In a security filing late on Wednesday Las Bambas had said the Huancuire community remained inside company property, although it had evicted the Fuerabamba community, which had been demanding the return of their ancestral lands.

READ ALSO: State of emergency in Peru as protests hit copper output

In a statement, MMG said community members had again invaded the Las Bambas property on Friday and damaged some equipment.

On Thursday, Peru’s left-wing government said it had not participated in the evictions, but national police had joined in support of the company’s right to expel trespassers.

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

Las Bambas suspended operations on April 20 after the two communities settled inside the mine, saying it had failed to fulfill previous agreements. It is unclear when it will be able to resume production, halted for safety reasons.

Huancuire sold land to Las Bambas in recent years to make way for a planned mine expansion this year.

But the adviser, Raul, and Huancuire residents say the mine has not fully honored all commitments under the sale agreement and that profits have not trickled down to their community, allegations the company denies.

Peruvian law allows the use of force by property owners to expel trespassers during the first 15 days of an invasion, a legal statute that Las Bambas invoked this week, according to a company statement.

(By Marcelo Rochabrun and Indranil Sarkar; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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