Attempts to start dialogue at Las Bambas

06 March 2016

The tense situation reported in last week's newsletter on the Las Bambas copper mine has hopefully been diffused by the commencement of a 'dialogue table' (mesa de diálogo) – a forum for discussion – in the province of Cotabambas in Apurímac. The mine is owned by the Chinese firm MMG. That the authorities appear to be taking the need for consultation seriously is indicated by the fact that the mesa de diálogo was inaugurated by the vice minister of mines, 35 representatives of the Apurímac regional government and the head of the Office of Dialogue and Sustainability of the Council of Ministers.

The first debate, programmed for 21 March, will tackle the central issue of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and its modification without the required consultation. As we reported, the recent key issue has been that the workshops to discuss the modifications never took place .

But the mesa de diálogo will need to be more than a talking shop if community unrest is not to re-surge.

Las Bambas, which is not far from Tintaya in Cuzco, is potentially one of the world’s largest new (mainly) copper mines, and once up and running is expected to help push Peru into the number two slot (after Chile) in the world league of copper producers. Avoiding the sort of conflict that has bedevilled other major mining projects is therefore a top priority for the authorities in Lima.

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