Peru police evict indigenous protesters from China-owned MMG mine
LIMA: Peruvian police said on Wednesday (Apr 27) they had evicted an indigenous community that had established a camp inside a huge open-pit owned by MMG’s Las Bambas copper mine that had forced the Chinese-owned company to halt operations.
Las Bambas, owned by China’s MMG Ltd, supplies 2 per cent of global copper and had suspended copper production a week ago due to the protest. Residents of the indigenous Fuerabamba community entered the mine on Apr 14 demanding to take back what they say is their ancestral lands.
“While respecting human rights … 676 police officers from the Apurimac region recovered 100 per cent of the land owned by Las Bambas that had been invaded,” police said on Twitter.
Three people were injured, authorities said.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Las Bambas was planning to forcibly evict the community on Wednesday.
“We are still fighting … and we are going to continue all night,” Edison Vargas, the president of the Fuerabamba community, told Reuters by phone. Vargas, however, acknowledged that the vast majority of community members had been evicted by police forces earlier in the day and they were now fighting from outside company property.
It was unclear if Las Bambas will be able to restart production in the short term. A company representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Peru’s government declared a state of emergency in the area earlier on Wednesday, a move that suspends civil liberties such as the right to assembly and protest.
The Fuerabamba community was resettled around a decade ago to make way for Las Bambas, one of the world’s largest copper mines. The mine has battled against repeated protests and road blockades that have at times forced it to halt production.
Getting production started again at Las Bambas would add to global supply, potentially dampening prices, though the mine has faced recurring disruptions from impoverished local communities demanding higher financial contributions from the mine.