Protesters blockade Peru's Las Bambas mine after talks fall through

Peru's Andean rural residents complain of negative effects of mining activity

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru's Las Bambas copper mine, owned by China's MMG, is facing renewed blockades of a key transport route after failed talks over donations to local development projects, a community leader said on Wednesday.

Peru is one of the world's top copper producers and Las Bambas, which normally supplies 2% of global supply, has a history of stoppages due to protests organized by local communities.

Last week, residents of the Velille district in Cusco's Chumbivilcas province began blocking Peru's main mining corridor but lifted the protest on Tuesday to meet with company representatives.

By Wednesday, however, the protest was back on after the community members rejected a company offer to contribute one million soles ($270,000) annually in 2024 and 2025 to local development programs - half of what protesters are demanding.

"No agreement was reached at the meeting and we decided to resume the blockade of the corridor," said Robertson Pacheco, president of the Velille Defense Front.

"There is no way for mining vehicles to get through on the road," he added.

Las Bambas was not immediately available for comment.

Since it began operations in 2016, the mine has had to halt operations for more than 600 days.

In previous blockades, the company has used an alternative, longer road to transport concentrates to the coast for export.

The mine produced about 302,000 metric tons of copper last year, compared with nearly 255,000 tons in 2022, according to government data.

($1 = 3.7095 soles)

(Reporting by Marco Aquino;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)