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Peru's Las Bambas faces production stoppage

Bnamericas Published: Friday, October 11, 2019

Las Bambas copper mine in Peru's Cusco region faces a production stoppage. Blockades along an important road prevent it from receiving supplies and transport its produce to Matarani port.

Residents of Chumbivilcas province block the mining corridor to demand greater benefits from the company and protest that this regional highway has been designated a national route.

"We have begun a progressive stoppage of our production because we have not been able to move our cargo trucks for 18 days through the blockages and remain with limited supplies for only a few days," Las Bambas spokesperson Domingo Drago told BNamericas.

"The total shutdown would occur in the next few days if the blockade continues," he added.

The operator of Las Bambas, MMG, said in a statement that the company remains concerned about the social environment and its constant impact on the logistics of its operations.

"The outbound logistics of Las Bambas have been affected by roadblocks for more than 100 days so far this year," said MMG, which is controlled by state-owned China Minmetals Corp.

Drago said that due to the roadblocks this year, the copper production target of 385,000-405,000t could be difficult to meet.

Las Bambas produced 385,000t of copper last year compared to 454,000t in 2017, according to the company.

"We are aware that this will affect 8,000 families that depend on Las Bambas," Drago added.

HARD BLOW FOR ECONOMY

Mining and energy association SNMPE said the stoppage at Las Bambas would be a "hard blow" to the economy, because that unit contributes 1% of GDP.

"The situation is so critical at Las Bambas that in the coming days the total stoppage of the mine could proceed, which contributes 16% of the national copper production," SNMPE president Manuel Fumagalli said.

"The national economy has been slowing down and it is estimated that it would only grow a little more than 2.7% this year, but that growth would be affected if Las Bambas is forced to stop production," he added.

Peru is the world's second largest copper producer and mining activity is vital to its economy.

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