Protesters agree to lift blockade near Las Bambas copper mine

Las Bambas copper mine in Peru. (Image by MMG).

Protesters have agreed to lift a road blockade on a key Peruvian transport route near the Andean country’s major Las Bambas copper mine, sources with knowledge on the matter told Reuters on Thursday, after reaching a deal with the miner.

The mine, owned by China’s MMG Ltd, had faced a fresh protest by local communities demanding greater benefits from the copper mine, a major producer in a country that ranks among the world’s top suppliers of the red metal.

Protest leader Robertson Pacheco and a source close to the company did not give details on the deal, but residents from Velille, in Cusco’s Chumbivilcas province, had according to the source asked for an annual sum of 2 million soles ($544,218).

The company had previously offered 1.15 million soles for 2024/25 alongside technical assistance for development projects, the source said – a deal two other communities, one in Cusco and another in the Aprurimac region, had accepted.

Residents in Velille started protesting over a week ago after a meeting with company representatives failed to provide a solution, but as of Thursday, the mine’s production had according to a source not been impacted.

Though the protest had paralyzed the flow of trucks carrying minerals through the country’s so-called “mining corridor” to the coast for export, an alternate route was being used to supply the mine.

Las Bambas has faced frequent stoppages due to protests by poor communities demanding more benefits from the nearby mines. Since launching operations in 2016, the mine counts around 600 days of stoppages.

Last year, the mine nevertheless produced 302,039 metric tons of copper, up from 254,838 tons in 2022, according to government data. It typically supplies around 2% of global copper supplies and is one of the top producers in Peru.

($1 = 3.6750 soles)

(By Marco Aquino and Sarah Morland; Editing by David Gregorio and Stephen Coates)


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