Peru: pueblos divided on Bambas mega-mine

Bambas

Chinese-owned MMG Ltd on March 24 announced that it has secured approval from Peru’s Ministry of Energy & Mines (MINEM) to expand its copper mine at¬†Las Bambas,¬† despite ongoing outrage from local campesino communities. The country’s fourth-largest copper mine and the world’s ninth-largest, Las Bambas has been repeatedly shut down by peasant protests since it opened in 2016. The most recent blockades were launched in February by residents of Chumbivilcas, Paruro¬†and Espinar provinces, Cuzco region,¬†to oppose excavation of a second open pit at the facility, at a locale called Chalcobamba. Ahead of approval of the expansion, MINEM secured a pledge by some 20 communities to lift their blockades and refrain from further protest actions in exchange for agricultural aid, including two new tractors for pueblos in¬†Coporaque district,¬†Espinar province. However, the pueblo closest to the Chalcobamba pit rejected the deal.¬†Huancuire pueblo, in the district of Cuyllurqui, Cotabambas province,¬†Apur√≠mac region, said the¬†community had agreed to take all necessary “legal and social”¬†measures to prevent excavation of the Chalcobamba pit. (Reuters, EFE, Gesti√≥n, El Comercio, Mining.com)

MMG Ltd also faces a challenge in labor actions. Workers at Las¬†Bambas staged a one-day strike March 26, demanding a hike in wages. The¬†Unitary Syndicate¬†of¬†Las Bambas Workers (SUTEMLB-MMG) charged that the company is not complying with a deal under which wages are to keep pace with profits.¬†¬†(Per√ļ21)

Photo: Wikimedia

  1. Protests shut two major copper mines in Peru

    A state of emergency has been declared in Peru’s¬†Moquegua region following several days of roablocks and protests against the¬†Cuajone copper mine. With both the¬†Cuajone and Bambas facilities effectively closed by protests, a full fifth of Peru’s copper production is halted. (Gesti√≥n, Mining.com)

  2. MMG suspends copper output target after Bambas protests

    Chinese miner MMG Ltd on July 25 said it had suspended its copper production targets for the year following a 60% output drop due to a long protest at its Las Bambas mine in the Peruvian Andes, which significantly disrupted operations.

    MMG had previously expected to produce 300,000-320,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate during the year at Las Bambas. But during the first half of the year, it managed to produce only 101,000 tonnes, the company said. 

    In April, members of the neighboring communities of Fuerabamba and Huancuire both entered Las Bambas property and settled inside, causing the production halt. While MMG said the mine is currently operating at full capacity, tensions remain high after a recent truce with Fuerabamba and Huancuire expired without new agreements. (mining.com)