The Stream

Tapping into Peru’s mining conflict

State of emergency still in place after deadly protests over $7.4 billion project.

Pressure is mounting on the Peruvian government to resolve a mining dispute following deadly protests that rattled the country’s southeast region. Locals are fighting a $7.4 billion copper mining project. They accuse the China-backed company MMG Limited (MMG) of changing the Las Bambas project’s environmental plan and failing to employ more locals.

Following deadly clashes between protesters and police in late September, a state of emergency was declared and martial law implemented in the Apurimac and Cusco regions. Despite this, government officials have maintained support for the Las Bambas project saying it will generate economic growth for Peru, a country where more than 50 percent of its exports comes from mining copper, gold and silver. In a statement released on Tuesday, MMG said the company “remains deeply concerned about the violent incidents that occurred in the vicinity of our project and is supporting all efforts to promote dialogue with elected and representative groups”.

This week, mayors from the Cotabambas province and representatives from civil society organisations met with government officials on conditions for lifting the state of emergency.  

This isn’t the first time a mining project has created controversy in the country. In May, similar deadly protests against Southern Copper’s $1.7 billion Tia Maria expansion plan in Arequipa took place, derailing the effort. However, the country’s interior minister says protests will not stop Las Bambas from going forward.

So on Thursday, we’ll look at the impact of foreign mining operations on the local community and whether or not their concerns can be addressed when the country is heavily dependent on mining.

In this episode, we speak to:

Jose Carlos Requena @requenajc
Editor, National News at El Comercio 

Manuel Glave
Senior researcher, GRADE  

Carlos Monge @cmongesalgado
Latin America director, Natural Resource Governance Institute 

Raphael Hoetmer @raphahoet 
Researcher, Democracy and Global Transformation Program

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