October 10, 2019 / 2:35 AM / 12 days ago

China's MMG says protests to affect Las Bambas copper operations

HONG KONG, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Operations at Las Bambas, one of Peru's largest copper minefield, will be affected by road disruption with supplies being blocked amid anti-mining protests, Chinese miner MMG Ltd said on Thursday.

Access to our Las Bambas mine has been disrupted due to roadblocks and logistics have been interrupted since Sept. 22, MMG said, as protests blocked supplies from reaching their operations.

Residents of Peru's southern copper belt have occupied roads and a minerals railroad to protest a construction licence the government gave to Southern Copper Corp for its $1.4 billion Tia Maria project, which has been delayed for nearly a decade due to local opposition from farmers.

The mine project, expected to produce 120,000 tonnes of copper per year, has been the focus of debate over whether the significant tax revenues from mines outweigh the objections of people who live near them.

"While there has been no impact to copper concentrate production to date, mining operations will begin to progressively be impacted unless inbound logistics can be restored within the next few days," Chief Executive Officer Gao Xiaoyu said in the statement.

"As the road blockages prevent concentrates being transported from the mine to the port, some shipments to customers have been delayed," Gao said, adding Las Bambas will work with local communities and authorities to restore road access and solve the issue.

Shipments from four mines that produce about half of Peru's copper - Freeport-McMoRan Inc's Cerro Verde deposit, MMG Ltd's Las Bambas, Glencore PLC's Antapaccay and Hudbay Mineral's Constancia - have been affected due to the unrest.

Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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