According to a local leader, an indigenous community in Peru’s Espinar province that blocked a key mining road on Wednesday intends to continue the blockade indefinitely in protest of the government and Glencore PLC’s (GLEN.L) Antapaccay copper mine.
The conflict occurs just one day after the government resolved a similar standoff in nearby Chumbivilcas.
The Antapaccay mine did not respond to requests for comment. A government mining spokesperson could not be reached for comment by Reuters.
The mining corridor, as it is known in Peru, has become a lightning rod in the country, which is the world’s second-largest copper producer after neighbouring Chile.
As of Wednesday, the community had blocked the road to protest against the environmental and social impact of the mine as well as the lack of government engagement with the local populace, said Flavio Huanque, a community leader in Espinar.
Huanque said earlier on Wednesday that one of the community’s demands was for the government to replace its prime minister, which President Pedro Castillo did later in the day, though it was not clear whether the replacement was related to the demand.
The former prime minister “came here on Sept. 11 and showed an absolute lack of knowledge about the problems regarding the indigenous communities of Espinar,” Huanque told Reuters.
Still, Huanque said the blockade will continue until Antapaccay addresses their grievances, which includes decades of complaints of environmental degradation.
The mining corridor, which traverses the Andes for about 500 km (310 miles), was blockaded for about three weeks in September.
Those blockades were in a more remote part of the road, affecting the huge Las Bambas copper mine, owned by MMG Ltd (1208.HK) – a unit of state-owned enterprise China Minmetals Corp Ltd (CHMIN.UL) – but sparing other mines including Antapaccay.
The blockade now affects both mines. Antapaccay is Peru’s sixth-largest copper mine, whereas Las Bambas ranks fourth, showed data from the ministry of energy and mines.