The Peruvian community plans to oppose the expansion of the Las Bambas mine

FILE PHOTO: Peruvian communities reject latest proposal to end mining conflicts in Las Bambas
FILE PHOTO: People march with signs reading ‘No to pollution’ and ‘Huascabamba Agricultural Community’ as community leaders rejected a government proposal to prevent future blockades affecting the Las Bambas copper mine in Sayhua, Peru January 17, 2022. REUTERS/ Sebastian Castaneda/File Photo

March 26, 2022

By Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun

LIMA (Reuters) – A Peruvian community has threatened to object to the expansion of MMG Ltd’s large Las Bambas copper mine.

Located in the Apurimac region of southern Peru, the Chinese-owned mine has been at the center of protests and roadblocks since it started operating in 2016, causing it to frequently curtail its operations.

At a meeting Thursday after announcing government approval for the Las Bambas expansion, the local municipality of Huancuire said it would take all necessary “legal and social” measures to allow the development of a second open-pit copper mine, called Chalcobamba to prevent.

“We adamantly state that we will not allow or tolerate the commencement of operations of the unconsulted Chalcobamba project,” the Huancuire community said in a document provided to Reuters and signed by local leaders on Thursday.

Peru’s Energy and Mines Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

MMG, which controls Las Bambas, said it will complete work on Chalcobamba within five months to start production in the second half of 2022.

The Company anticipates that development of the project will increase its production from 380,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes per year of copper concentrates over the medium term.

Peru is the second largest copper producer in the world after Chile and Las Bambas, producing 2% of the world’s red metal supply.

Huancuire community leaders claim that the Ministry of Energy and Mines approved the construction of Chalcobamba without completing due diligence procedures with the community to start the project.

Most of the people living near the mine are of indigenous Quechua descent and have repeatedly accused the Chinese company of not creating enough jobs and money for the region, which is among the poorest in Peru, despite its enormous mineral wealth.

Later Friday, the federal government said in a statement it would deploy more national police forces to the region, an effort that would ease the movement of vehicles and people and avoid disruption to regional economic activity. The move is a shift in strategy by the government of leftist President Pedro Castillo, which was trying to avoid a police confrontation with communities in the region.

“The Home Office maintains a deterrent police presence that guarantees the normal development of activities for both communities and companies in the public and private sectors,” it said.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun; Writing by Steven Grattan and Carolina Pulice; Editing by Aurora Ellis) The Peruvian community plans to oppose the expansion of the Las Bambas mine

Bobby Allyn

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