A community in the Peruvian Andes blocked a transport road used by the copper mine MMG sneakerssaid a source close to the company on Wednesday, in what is at least the third blockade affecting the company this year.
The community of Urinsaya, in the province of Espinar (Cusco), 250 kilometers from Las Bambas, blocked the road on Tuesday, said the source, who requested reservations to speak to the press.
Reuters was unable to reach a representative in Urinsaya, but Flavio Huanque, a leader from another nearby community in Espinar, confirmed the blockade and said that Urinsaya was seeking financial contributions from Las Bambas, owned by China’s MMG.
Las Bambas produces 2% of the world’s copper and is key to the economy of Peru, the world’s second largest producer of the metal.
The road used by Las Bambas is a focus of protests. The dirt road runs through scores of impoverished Andean communities that have often blocked the road in protest, claiming the mine has failed to improve their quality of life while mining trucks contaminate their crops.
Since Las Bambas began operations in 2016, communities have intermittently blocked the road for more than 430 days. Reuters reported earlier this year that the conflicts affecting Las Bambas were spreading further and further from the mine, as more communities demand benefits from mining activities.
Urinsaya is located about four hours from Las Bambas.
Earlier this year, the government of President Pedro Castillo and Las Bambas reached an agreement with the Ccapacmarca community to lift a blockade that caused the mining company to halt operations. Late last year, another blockade led to a full mine closure that lasted more than a week.
The lockdowns have also hit Hong Kong-listed shares of MMG and hit its copper production.
There is dialogue provision
Regarding the blockade in Urinsaya, sources close to the company pointed out that it “has shown its willingness to dialogue, its firm commitment to comply with the agreements reached and flexibility and creativity to find viable formulas that allow it to contribute to the development development of the community of Urinsaya, located 250 kilometers from the mining operation”.
Unfortunately, the sources pointed out, “the community has ignored the technical rationale of the competent authorities for determining the Direct Influence Area (AID) of a mining operation, as well as their recommendation to accept the MLB proposal in the sense of declaring Urinsaya Zone of Environmental and Social Interest of the company, which for practical purposes provides similar benefits to those granted to a community of AID in terms of development of development projects.