Copper concentrate has not left Las Bambas since local residents blocked the roads leading to and from Peru’s largest copper mine last week, when clashes left one protester dead and 20 police injured. A government delegation led by Vice President Martin Vizcarra requested a 45-day “truce” on Saturday to allow trucks to continue shipping as the government reviews the community’s list of demands.
While more than 80% of the Cotabambas province population has accepted the truce, the Quehuira, Ayahua, Choqueca and Pumamarca villages, which are located closest to the mine in the Challhuahuacho district, rejected opening the roads for MMG to continue copper shipments out of the mine en route to a seaport in southern Peru.
“We are continuing the protest until our requests are resolved. We are tired of dialogue tables and truces,” Quehuira village leader Raimundo Letona told the Peruvian magazine La Republica.
“The politicians gave the vice president a deadline, but we don’t support that because they didn’t talk to us,” Pumamarca village leader Juvenal Huamani told Peru 21. “We ask that they respond to our request and that we be compensated accordingly.”
Choqueca leader Timoteo Noa told La Republica that his village was entitled to a payment for use of the public road due to the environmental damage that the daily passage of hundreds of trucks causes to the agricultural community. “If the government gives us a good answer, the strike is over,” he said.
Cotabambas provincial Mayor Odilon Huanaco is trying to convince village leaders to accept the truce as the national government and MMG analyze the community’s submitted list of 170 requests for projects and programs approved by the previous government. Until then, the road has been opened to passengers and shipments of food and fuel, but not the MMG trucks transporting copper.