State of Emergency in Peru – 4 dead in Protests at „Las Bambas“ Coppermine

A state of emergency has been declared in the Apurimac region of Peru, after escalating tensions at the Copper mine „Las bambas“. These tensions culminated on the 29 September in thousands of protestors gathering at the mine, this turned into voilent clashes with the police. This conflict left 16 people injured, including 8 police officers and 4 dead. [1]

The protests began due to disatisfaction about the potential environmental harm of the copper mine to the sensitive Andean region, the local people also want more people to be hired at the mine. The mine has been surrounded in controversy and was previously owned by Glencore.[2] An estimated 15,000 people took part in the protest, which went on for three days. [3] At some stage during the events protestors tried to enter the mine and the police took action, apparently initially with non-lethal weapons and therafter with lethal weapons.[4]

The specific reason for the protest related to changes to the Environmental Impact Assessment , which has included plans to scrap a pipeline this would result in the movement of over 450 tonnes of copper with trucks along a highway that cuts through dozens of rural communities. [5] No public hearings were held in relation to this issue.

“Suspending the pipeline project will bring impacts that communities haven’t been told about in the project’s EIA, because the huge number of lorries passing by will throw up lots of dust and cause pollution. This change is something that could cause unrest in the local population. It’s advisable to respect measures that prevent negative noise impacts and those felt in the streets and the air,” says Pedro Gamio, ex-Deputy Minister of Mining and Energy.[6]

While IMMG claim that they are open to discussion and they encourage the communities to talk directly with them[7]. It seems clear that had these lines of communication been open initially and had the communities felt their issues were being considered, it is unlikely they would have arranged a 15,000 strong protest.

On 7 October talks began between IMMG and the local people at a round table discussion with government, to come to an agreement over the mines plans.[8]

[1] Bloomberg (2015) Peru declares state of emergency after three die in mien protest. .
[2] Facing Finance (2014): Peru Glencore Verkauft kupfermine las bambas an chinese consortium.
[3]BBC World News (2015): Peru anti-mining protest sees deadly clashes.
[4] BBC World News (2015): Peru anti-mining protest sees deadly clashes.
[5] DialogoChina (2015): Las Bambas: the environmental challenges of Peru’s largest mine.
[6] DialogoChina (2015): Las Bambas: the environmental challenges of Peru’s largest mine.
[7] Mining.com (2015): Mining protests turn deadly in Peru. http://www.mining.com/mining-protests-turn-deadly-in-peru/?utm_source=digest-en-mining-150930&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=digest
[8] Business New America: peru government begin talks at las bambas project.

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