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14 May 2022

Peru Support Group

Peru: Mining conflict between communities and Chinese MMG Las Bambas project continues while Newmont announces plans to move ahead with its Conga project

“Las Bambas dispute unresolved while Newmont suggests pushing ahead with Conga” – 14 May 2022

The mining sector continues to produce conflicts and disruptions to production. The most serious is at Las Bambas, as we reported last week. The issue which erupted into its most recent phase of conflict began on 14 April and is still unresolved.

The government called all sides, including workers and the company, to a meeting on 10 May, but the two communities leading the dispute continued to insist that dialogue is impossible as long as the state of emergency in the region continues. The government argues that the state of emergency is needed to maintain order. The plan to take the agreement to the Council of Ministers the following day had to be abandoned.

Production at the Las Bambas mine, operated by China’s MMG, has been suspended since mid-April. Mining executives blame the government for failure to achieve conditions in which output can be renewed.

Meanwhile Newmont, the giant US-owned mining company based in Denver, has voiced plans to move ahead with the Conga project, abandoned in 2016 in the face of fierce community opposition in Cajamarca. Newmont is now the sole owner of Latin America’s largest gold mine, Yanacocha, having bought out the Peruvian company Buenaventura’s share and very recently also that of the Japanese company Sumitomo. The company is giving much publicity to its proposed expansion at Yanacocha, where its decision is pending on its plans to move from open cast to underground mining with a US$2 billion development.

The press reporting juxtaposes the news about Conga with the threat to increased investment posed by the Las Bambas dispute.