The Andes

Peru: pueblos divided on Bambas mega-mine

Chinese-owned MMG Ltd 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 several pueblos, to oppose excavation of a second open pit at the facility. 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. However, the pueblo closest to the Chalcobamba pit rejected the deal. Huancuire pueblo, Apurímac region, said the community had agreed to take all necessary “legal and social” measures to prevent excavation of a second pit. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The Andes

Peru: victory in protests over water price hike

All economic activities were suspended for several days in Peru's southern city of Moquegua as residents launched a civil strike to protest a planned 20% hike in water prices. The strike was relaxed when the central government sent a representative to meet with local and community leaders. Finally, the government agreed to invest more money in Moquegua's infrastructure, heading off the need for the hike. Authorities warned that the region's water system is at the brink of "collapse." But protesters pointed to the profligate use of water by the mining industry in Moquegua. Under pressure of the protests, authorities ordered the Aruntani mining company to immediately cease dumping of tailings and contaminated water in local creeks at its gold mine in Moquegua. After years of operation, the company was finally ordered to instate a water treatment program at the facility. (Photo: OEFA via Canal N)

The Amazon

China pushes trans-Amazon railway project

China's Premier Li Keqiang, on a tour of South America, is plugging a transcontinental railway project that would cut through the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

The Andes

Peru: is Conga project cancelled?

Peru’s mining minister Jorge Merino denied media reports that the controversial gold project at Conga, in northern Cajamarca region, has been cancelled.