MAC: Mines and Communities

Peru: Las Bambas copper mine stalled by community protests

Published by MAC on 2020-02-05

Multiple community protests against land acquistion and pollution by a Chinese company's  mine in Peru, has now resulted in a temporay suspension of operations, following reports by the country's environmental regulator.

The Las Bambas mine is a major global copper producer.

MMG suspends shipments from Las Bambas copper mine in Peru

Cecilia Jamasmie

30 January 2020

Chinese miner MMG has once again halted copper shipments from its Las
Bambas operation, one of Peru’s largest copper producers, following a road
blockade by local community members protesting against alleged ongoing
pollution of their lands.

The preventive measure, aimed at protecting trucks to and from the mine,
has stopped supplies from getting through and suspended the transport of
concentrates to port facilities, but is not expected to affect production
volumes, local paper Diario Correo reported.

The blockade and consequent shipment suspension has been a common issue
affecting Las Bambas since its 2015-16 ramp-up. Overall, the mine was
disrupted for more than 100 days last year, with more than 70 communities
along the 450 km. road to the Port of Matarani demanding action from MMG
and the national government.

Protesters claim, among other issues, that their farmland has been cut by
Peru’s national highway CU-135, known as the Southern Runway, and that
emissions from trucks are beyond permitted limits.

The preventive measure seeks to protect trucks to and from the mine
amid fresh protests against alleged pollution

A three-month-long environmental assessment carried out by Peru’s
Environmental Assessment and Control Agency (OEFA) and community members,
recently concluded that Las Bambas’ trucks are contravening regulations
when it comes to air, noise, land and water pollution.

The company was asked to install dust suppressors in the towns that
surround the road used by its trucks and to spray water on the way prior
to the trucks passing to reduce the spread of dust particles.

The miner was also urged to stop using the road that connects the towns of
Velille and Capacmarca between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m., a measure that’s being
monitored by the environmental authority in real-time through GPS devices
installed on the vehicles. Satellite technology is also expected to allow
OEFA staff to verify whether the trucks are compliant with speed and load

Las Bambas is the world’s ninth-largest copper mine, with an output of
about 400,000 tonnes of the industrial metal per year, or about 2% of
global production.

Operations at four of Peru’s top copper mines, accounting for about 50% of
the country’s metal production, have been affected by local opposition in
the past few months. Other than Las Bambas, those mines include
Freeport-McMoRan’s Cerro Verde, Glencore’s Antapaccay and Hudbay Mineral’s


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