Two indigenous communities Thursday asked the government to repeal the state of emergency near Peru’s Las Bambas copper mine but in vain.
The Fuerabamba and Huancuire communities had called for the removal of the emergency that suspends civil liberties such as assembly and protest. They were met with a refusal from the office of the President of the Council of Ministers, Aníbal Torres, who instead attempted to schedule a meeting on May 7 between members of the state and members of the two communities. The communities have not confirmed their participation in the dialogue, which will likely also include company representatives.
On April 20, MMG, the operators of the Las Bambas mine, ceased operations following protests where members of the Fuerabamba and Huancuire communities entered the mine. The protesters accused the company of reneging its social investment commitments, including the resettlement of the Fuerabamba community displaced by the mine in a new township. A week later, a state of emergency was declared in the area of influence of the mine and protesters were evicted.
A problem arising from the emergency is the employment of the workers of the Las Bambas mine. The workers are currently in a situation of uncertainty, given work has stopped and an agreement between the two communities and the company has ceased.
In an interview given to RPP, the representative of the labor union of the Las Bambas mine outlined the social responsibility of the state and the company. He said:
“There are about 9,000 workers, both direct and indirect, who fear losing their jobs as a result of the conflict that began last April … I believe that the State has to take a look at all the entities involved, the communities, the mining corridor and the workers. We hope that a climate of peace will be created and this dialogue table for well-being in general will come to fruition.”