Above Photo: People march with signs reading ‘No to environmental contamination’ and ‘Farming community of Huascabamba’ in Sayhua, Peru. Sebastian Castaneda / Reuters.
Leaders of the Coporaque district promise to continue to block the road leading to Las Bambas copper mine.
Members of a Peruvian community have promised to restart a road blockade against a prominent copper mine, even as a second community promised a 45-day truce in the dispute.
The planned disruption is the latest in a series of protests along the road leading to the Las Bambas mine, which is owned by MMG Ltd and produces 2 percent of the world’s copper supply. Dozens of impoverished Andean communities live along the 400km (248 miles) dirt road. They have regularly complained that the trucks transiting to the mine pollute the environment while failing to increase the quality of life for residents.
Since opening in 2016, the mining road has been blocked for more than 400 days by different groups. Most recently, leaders in the Capacmarca district agreed to lift their blockade for 45 days following a meeting with Peru’s new Prime Minister Anibal Torres.
However, soon after, leaders from Coporaque district, where also protesters have recently blocked the road, said they would continue the blockade.
“Good for our brothers in Capacmarca. Meanwhile, Las Bambas will not pass through Coporaque,” the Coporaque Defence Front said in a message on Facebook.
A member of the group, Roger Condo, told the Reuters news agency that they would meet on Monday to plan the blockade.
Protests have been common against mining companies in Peru for years, coming not just from local communities but also from workers demanding higher wages.
In January, a group of communities rejected a government proposal that would have seen Las Bambas’s owners offer financial support in exchange for a moratorium on blockades.
The continued protests have posed a challenge to President Pedro Castillo, who was elected in June after running on a left-wing platform of promising to prioritise the needs of marginalised Peruvians. However, his social programmes widely require tax revenue from mining.
The Las Bambas mine alone represents 1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. It had previously suspended operations in December due to the blockade.