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Las Bambas copper production at risk due to blockages

As anticipated months ago, the company MMG Limited reported that the lack of supplies, associated with the blockade of roads in the Cuzco corridor of Chumbivilcas, will prevent the exploitation of copper in its Las Bambas project, Apurímac.

In a communication with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE), the chief executive officer and CEO of the company, Gao Xiaoyu, explained that, Since the start of the protest, five governments ago, 400 days of work have been lost. Therefore, they estimate that the impacts of their production this month are “very uncertain.” The situation is dire, because, in addition to the high price of the red metal these days, stocks at the site have now increased to “around 50,000 tons of concentrate,” according to MMG.

From the place of the confrontation, the coin does not finish showing its face. Luis Huamaní, president of the Struggle Committee of the Chumbivilcas Mining Corridor, expresses his skepticism and clarifies that they only seek to sit down with MMG in defense of the environmental and social rights of their community. However, he affirms that in the coming weeks they will evaluate a joint strike by the 18 peasant communities involved, “which will be stronger.”

“They declare a national route in the PPK government with the aim of not giving the right of marginal fringe, right of easement. That is why it is the conflict with the MTC. It is not fair that they make outrages to be able to cover the mine in that way regardless of whether they are violating the Constitution and the Peasant Communities Law, “he said.

This situation, of course, has permeated the government. During the Trujillo Executive GORE, President Pedro Castillo predicted a new appointment with representatives of the mining sector, after the disagreement in Ayacucho. “We are also going to make a call about what this Las Bambas mining company is proposing, as soon as possible,” added the president with concern.

For his part, Ministry of Energy and Mines (Minem) He called for the greatest possible reflection of the actors involved to maintain the dialogue, without prejudice to the decision-making that they adopt. It also specified that MMG Las Bambas, within the framework of current mining legislation, may request the suspension of its activities for up to five years.

Conflict without management

The former congressman for Apurímac Richard Arce Part of the responsibility relates to the risky promises of the PCM to the local citizens, when former Prime Minister Guido Bellido assured that he would resolve the conflict in no more than 60 days. Instead, it demanded that the MTC expedite the delivery of compensation for the occupation of highways to cover “legitimate demands” of Chumbivilcas, which also ask to participate in the transport of the concentrate.

“False hopes have been created around the delivery of canon. In my region, royalty income was promised since January 2022, which is false. 50% of the canon comes from income tax, and its declaration is made only in March. In addition, according to the canon distribution law, the money only arrives in June. It is these actions and misinformation that generate what we are experiencing ”, affirmed Arce.

This is in line with what was expressed by the regional governor of Cusco, Jean Paul Benavente, who regretted that the conflict is exacerbated due to lack of an adequate strategy. In this sense, he said that the claims of the community members are not excessive as Las Bambas said and that they require attention, which is why he was against “radical measures” to unblock the road that crosses his region, in addition to Apurímac and Arequipa.

“We have asked the Minister of Energy and Mines to resolve the problem responsibly. It should not have reached this point, “he stressed.

Dump truck runner

For José De Echave, former Deputy Minister of Environmental Management, the announcement is a way of “pressuring” the Executive to find a quick solution to the conflict, but not a closure of operations in times when copper shines in any market. Indeed, Las Bambas contributes 70% of the income that MMG receives from all its operations in the world. In this sense, he asked the company to clarify the status of the new EIA that includes the road as part of the area of ​​influence.

“I am concerned about the reaction of various spokespersons from the business sector, who try to attribute sole responsibility to this government. Since it started in 2016, the company has had 400 days of lockdown; it is a creeping problem and nobody wants to solve it ”, explained the CooperAcción researcher.

Luis Inchishategui himself, former head of the Minem, acknowledged for La República in September 2020 that, even if the corridor was paved, it would be very difficult for the citizens of the area to “be able to live with 300 trucks a day” passing by the side of their houses. And it is that there are 650 kilometers of road between Las Bambas and the port. Beyond the blockages, the cost of transportation is high and unsustainable, especially since, after purchasing the mine from Xstrata, MMG abandoned the original project for a pipeline.

Las Bambas: never ending adventures

The National Society of Mining, Oil and Energy (SNMPE) warned that Las Bambas’ losses due to the blockades amount to US $ 9.5 million a day.

Copper is equivalent to 30% of our exports and from January to October it was exported for more than US $ 14,000 million. Las Bambas is the second largest exporter in the country.

A mining railway for S / 18,200 million (US $ 4,560 million) between San Juan de Marcona, in Ica, and Andahuaylas, in Apurímac, is already part of the MTC portfolio.

Data

Truck. Chumbivilcas asks to be in charge of 20% of the transportation of copper concentrates, the same services that Apurímac demands.

Visit. Apurímac businessmen will travel to Lima to express their concern to the President Castillo.

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