Peruvian community to restart blockade of Las Bambas mine road
The threat leaves Las Bambas still at risk of suspending operations, even as the road was cleared on Sunday. Ccapacmarca district leaders have agreed to lift their blockade for 45 days following a meeting with new Prime Minister Anibal Torres.
A few minutes after the truce, the leaders of the district of Coporaque, who briefly blocked the road so this week released their own statement.
“Good for our Ccapacmarca brothers. During this time, Las Bambas will not pass through Coporaque,” the Coporaque Defense Front said in a Facebook post.
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Front member Roger Condo told Reuters the road is currently clear but they will meet on Monday to plan the blockade.
The road leading to Las Bambas is a hotbed of protests. Dozens of impoverished Andean communities lie along the 400 km winding dirt road, who have often complained that the mine trucks are polluting the environment as the company has failed to improve their quality of life.
Ccapacmarca and Coporaque demand that Las Bambas contribute more to their respective communities.
Since its opening in 2016, the mining road has been blocked for more than 400 days by several different groups, affecting the mine’s copper production.
Recent lockdowns have become a major headache for the leftist government of Pedro Castillo, which has promised to prioritize the needs of marginalized Peruvians but also needs mining tax revenues to fund social programs.
Las Bambas alone accounts for 1% of the country’s gross domestic product and already suspended operations in December due to a blockade.
(By Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Grant McCool)