The Antamina mine (above) idles production due to protests by local community members. (Photo: Teck Resources)

Operations were suspended on Sunday, October 31, at the Antamina mine in Peru after protesters blocked a road used by the mine, majority-owned by Glencore PLC and BHP Group. However, on November 2, government representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Mines, among others, reached an agreement with community representatives to suspend the protest and blockades. The truce was effective today, November 3.

The protests started on October 24 and those involved have accused the mine of failing to honor its commitments to the community, Reuters reported. The company denied these allegations and said they would continue to try to engage with community leaders.

Antamina built the road and pipeline 20 years ago, which goes through the community of Aquia. Protestors said the company never fully paid for the lands it used.

According to the company, on Friday, October 29, a group of people, residents of Puerto Huarmey, carried out violent acts at the entrance gate to Puerto Punta Lobitos (PPL), the company’s port of embarkation. In addition to this, on Saturday, October 30, Antamina said people attacked the police present for safety purposes. The protestors used stones to break the glass of the security booth and caused injuries to several people. Protestors also set fire to a water tanker and a driver was injured.

The company said a stoppage of operations generates a loss of $14 million per day.

Antamina isn’t the only mine in Peru dealing with protestors. The camp at the Apumayo mine in the Andean area of Ayacucho was set on fire by protestors on October 29. According to the Peruvian Mines Ministry, a group entered the camp with explosive material and burned the facilities.

Apumayo is owned by Minera Andina de Exploraciones SAA and produced an estimated 17,508,000 ounces of silver in 2020.

In recent days, different protests have been registered in Ayacucho, Peru. The protestors are calling for the withdrawal of mining companies from their territories and have restricted traffic in different districts such as Puyusca, Chaviña, Sancos and Coracora.

According to local media outlets, there is a permanent threat of taking operations or roads in Oyón (Lima), Chumbivilcas and Espinar in Cusco, in Aquia in the province of Bolognesi (Ancash), Pasco, and in Melgar (Puno), which could lead to criminal acts such as the one at Apumayo.

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