Home » Peru’s Las Bambas Mine Ramps Up Copper Production with New Pit

Peru’s Las Bambas Mine Ramps Up Copper Production with New Pit

Expansion Project Expected to Address Global Shortage Concerns Despite Ongoing Discussions

by Victor Adetimilehin

Peru’s Las Bambas copper mine, a major player in the global market, is poised to increase production in response to a tightening copper supply. The mine, operated by China’s MMG Ltd., has faced challenges in recent years due to community protests that disrupted mining activities and delayed expansion plans. However, a new agreement with the local community and the opening of a new pit – Chalcobamba – offer hope for a significant production boost.

Global Copper Demand Soars, Las Bambas Mine Seeks to Catch Up

Copper prices have skyrocketed to record highs in 2024, driven by concerns of a potential global supply shortage. The surge in demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy projects has put immense pressure on copper production. In this climate, mines like Las Bambas, with a capacity of 400,000 tons per year, are crucial for meeting growing needs.

However, Las Bambas has been operating well below capacity due to community protests. These protests centered around concerns about the mine’s environmental impact and a desire for greater benefits for the local population. The resulting disruptions and delays in expansion plans have limited production significantly.

The Las Bambas mine received government approval for the Chalcobamba pit project in 2022. However, construction was stalled due to ongoing discussions with the Huancuire indigenous community, who previously owned the land. Recognizing the need for immediate progress, both parties recently reached an agreement that allows construction to begin. This agreement aims to provide local workers and businesses with economic benefits as construction gets underway.

However, some uncertainties regarding the long-term partnership remain. “While we initially aimed for a comprehensive agreement before starting mining operations,” said Troy Hey, an executive general manager at MMG, “we have adapted our strategy in consultation with the Huancuire community.” While construction can now proceed, details regarding the long-term partnership and community concerns are still being ironed out.

Production Increase Anticipated in 2024

Despite the ongoing discussions, Las Bambas produced 300,000 tons of copper in 2023. With the opening of the Chalcobamba pit anticipated for the second half of 2024, the mine expects to reach 320,000 tons of copper production this year. This increase would be a welcome development for the global copper market, but long-term success hinges on maintaining a collaborative relationship with the local community.

The Las Bambas mine expansion highlights the delicate balance needed between addressing global resource demands and respecting the rights and concerns of local communities. While the mine’s increased production will help alleviate the global copper shortage, the long-term viability of the project depends on addressing the Huancuire community’s concerns and ensuring their voices are heard throughout the process. Open communication, transparent agreements, and a commitment to sustainable practices will be essential for Las Bambas to achieve its full potential and contribute to a stable global copper market.

Source: Mining.com


You may also like

Leave a Comment

The African Miner is the vanguard of the mining industry, delivering world-class insight and news.

Latest Stories

© 2024 The African Miner. All Rights Reserved.