Peru Sends Team to Negotiate Pass at Halted Key Copper Mine
(Bloomberg) -- Peru’s government sent a mediation team to one of the biggest copper mines in the country in an effort to restart some basic operations after the local community forced a halt to operations in a blow to the area’s industry and global metal supplies.
A team is traveling to the vicinity of MMG Ltd.’s Las Bambas mine to negotiate a “humanitarian pass” for workers and entry for a “minimum” number of people “for critical activities,” the Council of Ministers said in a tweet. The pass would allow workers still in the mine to exit safely.
Due to the roadblocks, Las Bambas mine is unable to continue producing copper and as of Saturday will run out of key inputs, Hong Kong-listed MMG said in a statement Thursday. The closing was confirmed by its local manager, Alvaro Ossio, after a meeting with President Pedro Castillo late Friday.
“It is important to guarantee a humanitarian pass that protects the safety of workers and essential personnel to avoid impacting the environment and private property,” the office of Prime Minister Mirtha Vasquez said in a tweet.
The mine reduced processing operations on Wednesday as part of a gradual shutdown. Negotiations with the local community to prevent the closing of the mine failed earlier this week.
Villages surrounding the mine may seek to seize territory in the copper-mining corridor, according to Victor Villa, a community adviser in the Andean province of Chumbivilcas. MMG’s proposals to compensate the community haven’t been enough to reverse protests.
“We’re evaluating whether to free roads for the Christmas holidays,” Villa said in a phone interview. The communities seek to be a “strategic partner” with the mine and promise to keep negotiations open with the ministry, he said.
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