An indigenous community in Peru’s Espinar province, which blocked a major mining road on Wednesday, plans to continue the blockade indefinitely, a local leader said in a protest against the government and Glencore plc’s Antapace copper mine .
The clash comes a day after the government avoided a similar standoff at nearby Chumbivilkas.
The Antapace mine declined to comment. Reuters was unable to reach an official mining spokesperson for comment.
The road is known as a mining corridor in Peru, and has become a lightning rod in the country, which is the world’s second largest copper producer after neighboring Chile.
As of Wednesday, the community had blocked the road to protest the environmental and social impact of the mine, as well as the lack of government engagement with the local population, said Flavio Huanque, a community leader in Espinar.
Huanque said earlier on Wednesday that one of the community’s demands was for a government to replace its prime minister, which President Pedro Castillo did later in the day, although it was unclear whether the replacement was related to the demand. .
The former prime minister “came here on September 11 and showed a complete lack of knowledge about the problems regarding the indigenous communities of Espinar,” Huanque told Reuters.
Still, Huanque said the blockade would continue until Antipaque resolves their complaints, which include decades of complaints about environmental degradation.
The mining corridor crossing the Andes for about 500 km (310 mi) was blocked for almost three weeks in September.
Those blockades were on a more remote part of the road, affecting the huge Las Bambos copper mine owned by MMG Limited – a unit of state-owned enterprise China Minmetals Corp Ltd – but excluding other mines, including Antapace.
The blockade now affects both mines. Antipaque is Peru’s sixth largest copper mine, while Las Bambas ranks fourth, data from the Ministry of Energy and Mines showed.