Residents block road near Peru's Las Bambas copper mine after two-week truce

·1-min read

By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) - Residents near MMG Ltd's Las Bambas copper mine in the Peruvian Andes have blocked a road used to transport the metal after a two-week truce, community leaders said on Tuesday.

The road, known as the mining corridor, goes through several districts in the province of Chumbivilcas in Peru's Cuzco region.

"The communities have decided to restart the road blockage because the company does not want to participate in dialogue to solve the conflict," Walter Molina, who represents nearby communities, said in a phone interview.

An MMG representative in Peru declined to comment. Australia-based MMG is a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned enterprise China Minmetals Corp.

Las Bambas produces 400,000 tonnes of copper a year and is one of the largest mines in Peru, which is itself the world's No. 2 producer of the metal.

The conflict between indigenous agricultural communities and MMG's mine is long-standing, but it is an early test of new Peruvian President Pedro Castillo's ability to resolve social unrest.

Communities in Chumbivilcas are demanding that MMG pay them to use a dirt road that goes from the Las Bambas mine and eventually arrives on Peru's coast, where minerals are loaded on ships.

They also say that so many trucks cross the road every day that the mineral dust that is spread can damage their crops.

The leftist Castillo, who has appointed a prime minister who hails from Chumbivilcas, has said his government will prioritize the welfare of historically marginalized communities.

Residents and MMG had achieved a government-brokered truce that was to last for over a month, but Molina said MMG had failed to show up to a scheduled meeting.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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