Peruvian village blockades Las Bambas copper mine again

Members of the Nueva Fuerabamba community at a town hall held at Las Bambas on April 11, 2019. Photo by the Ministers Cabinet of Peru.

An indigenous Peruvian community has imposed a new road blockade on Chinese miner MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas mine, one of Peru’s largest copper producers, after talks with the company over compensation broke down, a representative of the public ombudsman office said on Tuesday.

The community started the blockade at midnight (0500 GMT) on Tuesday, the representative, Americo Contreras, said by phone, citing a document from government officials who mediated the talks that ended without a solution late on Monday.

“For now Yavi Yavi is blocked and the mining company has decided not to transport its minerals,” Contreras said, referring to the area of farmland which the road passes through.

The Fuerabamba community blocked MMG from transporting Las Bambas’ copper concentrates using a road on its farmland for more than two months earlier this year, which severely disrupted exports from the mine.

Las Bambas, one of Peru’s biggest mines, churns out about 400,000 tonnes of copper per year, or about 2 percent of global production.

The community struck an agreement with MMG in April, leading to the blockade being lifted.

According to notes from the meeting shared with Reuters, the company had rejected the community’s demands as “exorbitant” and “unfeasible.” The blockade would be resumed pending further response from the miner and the central government.

Representatives for Fuerabamba and Las Bambas could not immediately be reached for comment to confirm the new blockade was in place.

(By Mitra Taj; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

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