Protestors from indigenous Peruvian communities will resume a blockade of a critical mining supply route used by major copper producers next week, two local leaders said on Saturday via Reuters.
The road is used to obtain supplies by Chinese-ownedMMG’s Las Bambas mine, Glencore’s Antapaccay mine, and Hubbay Minerals’ Constancia mine.
Flavio Huanque, coordinator of the communities in the Antapaccay area, said via “we are supporting the protest against the government”. An agreement seen by Reuters also agreed to demand the stoppage of operations at Antapaccay, Las Bambas and Constancia.
“This is the agreement, from Monday we start the regional strike and we are going to block the highway” Carlon Quispe, one of the leaders of the defence front of the province of Chumbivilcas, said.
The move becomes the latest in a series of blockades and strikes by community activists protesting against the harmful impacts of MMG’s Las Bambas mining activities on local livelihoods. Political unrest following the accession of Pedro Castillo to President in September 2021 and his removal in December last year has aggravated social tensions within the country.
A blockade by activists in November 2021 later caused the miner to halt production following failed talks between the two parties. In April 2022 the miner was forced to cease operations due to protests by community members, who accused the company of failed social investment commitments.
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After a 30-day truce in June last year, indigenous communities protested against a planned expansion by Las Bambas. Protestors also claimed that the company failed financial commitments to them.
In February this year, the mine again halted production following months of protests and blockages from workers complaining about unsafe conditions and low pay.
Peru is the world’s second-largest copper producer, with the Las Bambas mine responsible for almost 2% of global copper production.
Copper is used frequently in electric vehicle manufacturing, as well as electronics. As demand for electric vehicles rises in line with the energy transition, industry experts predict a copper deficit that will be compounded by political tensions in mining areas.