Indigenous community ends blockade of Peru's Las Bambas copper mine

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators block a road access to a copper mine during a protest in Fuerabamba, Apurimac, Peru, March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Mitra Taj/File Photo

LIMA (Reuters) - Las Bambas mine, one of Peru’s largest copper producers, resumed copper transports on Saturday after indigenous communities ended a more than two-month blockade of a key highway, the company said.

The Fuerabamba community of the Andean region of Cusco agreed in a meeting late on Friday to end a conflict over compensation that held back exports from Las Bambas, which is controlled by Chinese miner MMG Ltd, according to a statement by Las Bambas mining company.

Details of the agreement were not immediately available, but the community was seeking a commitment from the company to pay it for transiting through its farmland.

Fuerabamba villagers had since February camped out along a stretch of road in the highland region of Cusco, blocking MMG’s trucks from transporting copper from Las Bambas. “As a result of the meeting, the free transit of concentrate trucks and supplies through the stretch of public road that crosses the Yavi Yavi farmland has been re-established,” the company said.

A spokesman for the company told Reuters on Saturday that with regard to production at the mine, it is “progressively normalizing all of operations.”

Las Bambas, one of Peru’s biggest mines, churns out about 400,000 tonnes of copper per year, or about 2 percent of global production. Shares of MMG rose to their highest level in a month after the company said it would restore normal operations at Las Bambas.

Peru is the world’s second-largest copper producer, but its mining sector faces constant protests from communities close to mining operations over profits or environmental concerns.

Reporting by Marco Aquino, writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Dan Grebler