Talks stall to unblock copper corridor used by MMG's Las Bambas mine in Peru

·1 min read

By Marcelo Rochabrun

LIMA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Peruvian government officials failed to broker a deal on Tuesday to unblock a key distribution corridor used by MMG Ltd's Las Bambas copper mine, according to minutes of the meeting seen by Reuters.

The dirt road from the Chinese-owned mine to a sea port has been blocked for 18 days by residents of the Chumbivilcas province, who are negotiating contracts for locals to be hired as drivers for the mine.

Las Bambas warned on Friday it would have to suspend production by next week if the situation was not resolved because it could not get supplies onto the mine.

That sent shares in Hong Kong-listed, Australia-based MMG tumbling. The company confirmed the minutes of the meetings it held with local community leaders and the government on Tuesday but declined to comment further.

Peru is the world's No. 2 copper producer and Las Bambas is its fourth largest producer of the red mine.

"The communities reaffirm the decision to continue protesting in a peaceful way," the meeting minutes read.

Many residents of Chumbivilcas, located several hours from Las Bambas, live along the dirt road, which has become a flashpoint of protests over environmental and social concerns.

Residents had reached a deal in October to secure transport jobs in exchange for not blocking the road, but negotiations have since stalled.

Minutes from Tuesday's meeting said that local representatives have called for Las Bambas to hire residents for 5% of the trucks it uses to transport copper, as well as for an additional 50 pickup trucks. The mine, however, has not agreed to those terms.

(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; editing by Jane Wardell)

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