According to Reuters, a giant Chinese-owned copper mine resettled the community of Fuerbamba in the Andean region of Peru, South America, to make way for its mine eight years ago. The company spent 1.2 billion dollars to address the protests against the mining sector in the area.
Now the community asks for their land to be returned.
More than a hundred Fuerabamba residents invaded the Las Bambas mine in mid-April. They pitched tents near the open pit, halting work at a production site contributing 2% of the world’s copper supply. They were joined by residents from the neighboring Huancuire community, which were opposing the mine’s proposed expansion on their former land.
In late April, the mine’s Chinese owner MMG Ltd tried to remove the camp. The attempt caused clashes, injuring dozens of people and failing to bring the protest to an end.
Copper production, worth 3 billion dollars a year, is still under suspension, without plans to restart.
The Fuerbamba members were ejected while the Huancuire community stayed. The two groups have allied to negotiate with the government and the mine.
Las Bamas admits that it hasn’t fulfilled 20% of the resettlement agreement’s responsibilities, including new land purchases for the community.
While the authorities of Fuerabamba had first urged Las Bambas to simply fulfill its obligations, tensions have risen since the failed eviction.
Edison Vargas, the Fuerabamba community’s president, told Reuters that they would keep battling until Las Bambas closes down and leaves.
He added that for them it is war.
Ivan Merino, a former mining minister under Peru’s embattled President Pedro Castillo, said that this protest is the most serious problem the mining company has faced since operating in Peru.