April 7, 2019 / 4:00 AM / 15 days ago

Peru village agrees to end road blockades of MMG's Las Bambas mine

LIMA, April 6 (Reuters) - An indigenous village in Peru agreed to end its two-month road blockade of MMG Ltd’s copper mine Las Bambas in exchange for a commitment from the company to pay it for transiting through its farmland, according to a document detailing the deal on Saturday.

The road blockades by the community, Fuerabamba, should be lifted by Monday, the document said. It was signed by the president of Fuerabamba, Gregorio Rojas, Peru’s prime minister and the mine’s manager after 10 hours of talks in the capital Lima.

The agreement appears to break the stalemate between Fuerabamba and MMG that has nearly shut down Las Bambas, an open-pit mine in southern Peru that produces about 400,000 tonnes of copper per year.

Fuerabamba started blocking MMG from using a local road that runs through its farmland in early February to demand compensation from the company. But the conflict escalated after Fuerabamba’s attorneys were ordered to jail while they are investigated for allegedly trying to extort MMG.

Fuerabamba had previously demanded the attorneys, who deny wrongdoing, be freed from prison before ending the road blockades.

But no mention of the lawyers was made in the agreement signed on Saturday.

“Las Bambas and the Fuerabamba community reached a mutually satisfactory economic agreement,” the document said, without mentioning a figure. “Access to the mining unit will no longer be blocked by Fuerabamba villagers, allowing vehicles belonging to Las Bambas and its contractors to transit freely.”

Rojas praised the deal after it was read aloud and distributed to journalists by one of the talks mediators late on Saturday, calling it “a firm step toward building our country with the right conditions”.

The government agreed to do more to support development in other communities around Las Bambas, the document said.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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