MMG to halt Las Bambas this month

MELBOURNE-based MMG says it will cease production this month at its flagship Las Bambas copper mine in Peru due to ongoing blockades.
MMG to halt Las Bambas this month MMG to halt Las Bambas this month MMG to halt Las Bambas this month MMG to halt Las Bambas this month MMG to halt Las Bambas this month

MMG’s Las Bambas operations in Peru

Staff reporter

It said the Chumbivilcas community, 200km from Las Bambas, had reinstated blockades in November and talks had been unsuccessful due to what MMG viewed as "excessive commercial demands". 

The current blockade, the latest in a series of protests, brought the total days transport lost to 400 since the start of concentrate transport in early 2016, MMG said on Friday.

"As a result of this ongoing blockade, and the restriction of inbound and outbound logistics, Las Bambas has been forced to progressively wind down mine operations and production will cease by mid-December due to a lack of key consumables," the Australia-based company said.

"While MMG remains committed to pursuing constructive dialogue, the actions of external agents, disproportionate demands on the company and an inability to reach enduring agreements continues to limit Las Bambas' operations, future investment and economic contribution to regional communities and the Peruvian economy."

Rural communities in Peru have felt empowered to protest by this year's presidential election of Pedro Castillo who they believe represents their interests. Blockades have been held elsewhere, including BHP and Glencore's Antamina operations and Hudbay Minerals' Constancia.

MMG warned in October that Las Bambas, a top five global producer, may have to be suspended if there was no resolution.

Las Bambas' production guidance for 2021 was recently revised to 300,000-305,000 tonnes of copper.

MMG's Kinsevere operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo were set to produce 45,000-50,000t of copper cathode this year, with mining no longer expected to resume this quarter as previously planned, the company said in October.

MMG produces a smaller amount of copper at its Rosebery operations in Tasmania, and lead and zinc at both Rosebery and Dugald River in Queensland.

MMG shares dropped 3.9% in Hong Kong today to HK$2.75, a 2021 low, valuing the company at US$3 billion.