The Las Bambas mining company, owned by the Chinese corporation MMG, announced that it would suspend its activities in mid-December for the blocking of the national highway called Corredor Minero del Sur, by residents of the province of Chumbivilcas in Cusco. In this regard, the Republic spoke with Luis Huamaní Fuentes, President of the Struggle Committee of the Chumbivilcas Mining Corridor.
– Las Bambas has announced that it could paralyze its operations because the strike is preventing its supplies from arriving. How do you handle this situation?
It is not that we think badly or well, but we know that in practice the MMG Las Bambas company does not close the mines and continue to operate, not a single person has moved here.
It is one more joke, it is a strategy on the part of the mining company to be able to continue operating and to also calm some social struggles; It is what we think, it is proven in practice.
-They have not said that they are going to close the mine, but that they are going to paralyze its operations because they cannot work without its supplies, due to the strike.
Indeed, that was our platform of struggle because they do not take into account the specifications of the struggle. They send policemen, they file complaints against us; So, until this conflict is solved, they have to paralyze, those of the MMG Las Bambas mining company must be aware. That is obvious because the Government is not having good officials, the ministers especially in this case of Energy and Mines and Transport and Communications are not solving.
They declare a national route with the aim of not giving the right of marginal fringe, the right of easement. That is why it is the conflict with Transport and Communications. It is not fair that they do outrages to be able to cover the mine in this way, regardless of whether they are violating the Political Constitution of Peru and the Law of Peasant Communities.
That does not mean that we are going to lift the strike, no. The strike continues, now we are doing a preventive with a few communities, but In the coming weeks there will be a joint strike of the 18 peasant communities of Chumbivilcas, which is going to be stronger.
In that sense, the internal coordination of the case is being carried out to have a meeting with the Executive. Surely, Mr. Castillo will be present with all the ministers. We are also going to invite the general manager of MMG Las Bambas.
-When would that be?
We are in coordination. We are going to invite no longer a high commissioner or vice ministers. In this case, they will have to assume responsibility, the same ministers of Energy and Mines, of Transport, the same Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Aníbal Torres, and President Pedro Castillo will have to assume their functions. They are the people we are going to invite with trade to be present in the Capaccmarca area, in Chumbivilcas. Also, to MMG Las Bambas.
-They are preparing the trades, then.
Yes, we are preparing. For now we do not care whether they paralyze or not. They cannot continue trampling our rights. We are not anti-miners as one sector of the press says, we only want respect and social and environmental responsibility. That’s all, we have no other things to claim either.
-Tell me, when did this problem start?
It began with Mr. Martín Vizcarra on November 16, 2016, that overnight declares a national route. Before being declared a national route, the mine was in some way fulfilling its social responsibility, at least it carried milk, sugar, and other important products, which we asked it to give.
Since the lord Martín Vizcarra declares national route through the Ministry of Transport and CommunicationsFrom then on, the mine says that this is a national route, and they are absolutely right. It is a route through which any legal and natural person can circulate. But for it to be a national route, it does not comply either administratively, technically or legally.
A road that is only used by a private company is declared a national road. It is not in the public interest, it does not interconnect ports and airports, departmental capitals, it does not interconnect two countries, it does not pass more than 2,000 vehicles of different categories on the road, only Las Bambas vehicles pass.
Therefore, we have filed a class action lawsuit and it has been admitted. We are waiting for the resolution from the Superior Court of Justice of Lima, which is delaying until now.
-Then, the protest continues in the mining corridor demanding their rights, but they are also preparing letters to invite President Castillo and ministers, as well as representatives of Las Bambas; What do you expect from that meeting?
We are going to invite the manager of MMG Las Bambas to say why, what is the reason for not considering the road that they use one hundred percent as part of the mining component. This is what they have to answer, because the Mining Law obliges them that any road used exclusively by private companies must be considered a direct social environmental area of influence.
So, for that, tell us some law that protects them so that they cannot consider areas of direct environmental influence, for what reason, if the law requires them to consider us.
Now, Transportes y Comunicaciones has to answer us for what reason they have declared a national route, which it shows us according to supreme decree 017-2007-MTC, because just as the Political Constitution of Peru or the Peruvian technical regulations cannot be violated, much less the Peasant Communities Law.
We are here for the right reasons, we are not asking for money, that our rights be respected. That’s all. We live from our agriculture, from livestock, from our own work. We do not depend on the government, but on ourselves. They come to contaminate us, we no longer harvest our products the same, our animals no longer develop as they should be. The problem is great, the conflict is going to expand if the Executive does not solve it in due course.
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