Expansion of Peru Copper Mine Still on Hold

Chinese miner MMG said it still can’t give a timeline for when it will be starting to build a second open pit to boost production at its Las Bambas copper mine in Peru. The mine, which accounts for 2% of global copper supply, has faced protests from indigenous communities that caused its operations to be disrupted. The Peruvian government had authorized MMG to open a second open pit earlier this year and the company was expected to start operations by the end of the year.

However, the project has been put on hold due to protests from a local indigenous community, which used to own that land.

MMG said in its half year financial results that it would start the development of the second pit when an enduring agreement is reached.

The company also lowered its production forecast for the year at the site from between 300,000-320,000 tonnes to 240,000 tonnes because of protests that forced the mine to shut down for over a month.

Indigenous communities living near Las Bambas have been protesting the company, saying the mine’s revenues have not translated to better living conditions for them as promised when the mine started operations.

MMG posted a profit of $80 million in the first six months of the year, down from $584 million a year earlier due to protests at Las Bambas and because of falling copper prices.

Peru is the world’s No. 2 copper producer and mining is a key source of tax revenue.

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