By Marcelo Rochabrun
SAYHUA, Peru (Reuters) – Leaders of a group of Peruvian communities said in a public hearing on Monday that they rejected a government proposal to prevent future blockades affecting the Las Bambas copper mine.
Capacmarca district leaders said they would analyze the proposal for 15 days before deciding whether to once again block the mining road used by Las Bambas to transport its copper onto a seaport.
The road has been blocked by local communities since Las Bambas, owned by China’s MMG [1208.HK] began operations in 2016. Blockades have totaled over 400 days on and off since then and most recently forced the mine to suspend operations in December.
The refusal to sign the proposal, which would have committed Las Bambas to financially support Ccapacmarca, is a blow for the government of leftist President Pedro Castillo. His administration has tried to prioritize the needs of poor mining communities while also relying on profits from the sector.
Las Bambas is one of Peru’s largest copper mines. The Andean nation is the world’s No. 2 copper producer and mining is a key source of tax revenue for the country.
(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by David Gregorio)