Tension on the route to the Las Bambas mine Trade Peru Cusco

By: Alicia Rojas and Francesca García Delgado

The executive power stated it state of emergency for 30 days in the Apurímaca-Cusco-Arequipa, before the protests recorded since August 22 in some areas besides the mining project Las Bambas, by the company MMG Las Bambas.

According to the Supreme Decree 091-2018-PCM, the emergency situation is along the 482 kilometers of the road, including the 500 meters next to each side of the corridor.

The most critical point is the Yavi Yavi sector, in the Santo Tomás district, Chumbivilcas province (Cusco). A group of members of the community of Fuerabamba – located in the province of Cotabambas (Apurímac), also in terms of influence of Las Bambas-. They placed hills of earth and dug trenches in the road to interrupt the passage of trucks carrying material from the mine.

They protest because, as they claim, the recent reclassification of the route (in May it went from regional to national route) affected a common property (see box). When classified as a national route, companies operating in the area can use the road for the transfer of minerals and machinery free of charge.

Local sources reported that days ago the residents demanded the company a payment in the form of a fee for S / 1,500 million.
In a video broadcast by the "Peru 21" newspaper, the representatives of the community assure that the change has been made without consulting them.

A few days later, on August 30, inhabitants of the communities of the Velille district, also in the province of Chumbivilcas, began an undetermined attack against the mining company and blocked two other parts of the road known as Tresvaros and Ccollana. According to the local media, the leaders ask for the change of the environmental impact study and the signing of a new framework agreement in the sector.

Alicia Abanto, deputy to the Ombudsman for the Environment, Public Services and Indigenous Peoples, acknowledged Friday that the situation in the area is tense and is called the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC), an entity that defines and classifies roads of the country, to initiate a dialogue to explain the changes in the road.

This fact is similar to the fact that it was registered in October 2016 when a group of members of the community blocked the mine for up to six months. They asked the Executive and the MMG company to pay them for the common land they said were used to follow a stretch of 40 kilometers from the road.

The protests of that year led to clashes with the police, claiming the life of the community member Quintino Cereceda.

This Friday, The trade MMG asked Las Bambas his version of the situation, but at the end of this edition there was no formal answer. The MTC indicated that it will offer its position on Monday for the new protest.

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