LIMA (Reuters) – MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas copper mine said on Thursday that a temporary truce to lift a month-long blockade affecting a key copper transport road in Peru does not guarantee conditions to restart operations in a sustainable way.
Residents of the Chumbivilcas province had been blocking the road since Nov. 20, forcing Las Bambas, which produces some 2% of global copper output, to suspend production.
The situation has created a major issue for the government of leftist President Pedro Castillo. Peru is the world’s No. 2 copper producer.
While many Chumbivilcas residents agreed to lift the blockade on Wednesday, Giselle Huamani, a top government official focused on social conflicts, told Reuters that the last community to unblock the road had communicated its decision only on Thursday.
In addition, communities have only agreed to lift the blockade temporarily until Dec. 30 https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/exclusive-peru-protesters-clear-las-bambas-road-after-mining-shutdown-legal-2021-12-22, when Peruvian Prime Minister Mirtha Vasquez is set to visit the area. Residents have said that depending on the agreements reached that day they will lift the blockade permanently or restart it.
Las Bambas said in a statement it “calls on all parties to respect the rule of law and generate the conditions necessary to restart our operations in a sustainable way.” The company added that the temporary truce did not meet those conditions.
The Las Bambas mine has been a flashpoint for protests since the mine started operations, with blockades hitting the road on and off for over 400 days since then.
Vasquez has strongly urged protesting communities to clear the road but was vague about the consequences of not doing so. She has not ruled out a state of emergency declaration but said she would rather engage in dialogue.
(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Chris Reese, Diane Craft and Sonya Hepinstall)