MMG shuts down Las Bambas copper mine as talks fail

The corporate, a unit of state-owned China Minmetals, warned earlier this month it will halt Las Bambas as blockades have been stopping important provides from reaching the operation.

The mine, which accounts for two% of world copper provide, will produce about 290,000 tonnes of copper concentrates this yr to Dec. 18. The corporate had already mentioned In July that 2021 manufacturing on the mine was anticipated within the low finish of its 310,00-330,000 tonnes forecast.

Stockpiles on website are actually roughly 60,770 tonnes of copper in focus, MMG mentioned within the assertion.

At concern is a dust highway that Las Bambas makes use of to move the copper from its mine to a sea port. Communities alongside the highway requested for extra logistics transport contracts, monetary compensation for the land used to construct the mining highway and actions to scale back alleged injury to their crops attributable to the big variety of vehicles on the highway daily. 

In addition they wished to set a fund with 8% of the mine’s annual earnings to finance productive and social growth initiatives, whereas the corporate provided financing for particular person social initiatives.

MMG believes it’s the federal government’s accountability to pave the route, however a long-term answer can be constructing a separate freight prepare hyperlink. Building of the railway would take greater than 5 years and value $9.2 billion, based on Peru’s transport and communications ministry.

400 days misplaced

Las Bambas, Peru’s fourth-largest copper mine and the world’s ninth, has grappled with on-and-off protests and highway blockades for the reason that operation’s 2015-16 ramp-up. 

Operations on the mine have been disrupted for greater than 100 days in 2019, with 70 communities alongside the 450 km. (280 mile) highway to the Port of Matarani demanding motion from MMG and the nationwide authorities over emissions from vehicles and discount of their farmlands. 

A 3-week-long roadblock protest staged on the finish of 2020 prevented MMG from exporting 189,000 tonnes of copper focus value $530 million from the mine.  

MMG shuts down Las Bambas copper mine as talks fail
Las Bambas’ closure will depart greater than 6,000 direct and oblique workers with out a job, 25% of them residents from the Apurímac area. (Picture courtesy of Minera Las Bambas.)

Extra interruptions in September this yr pressured the corporate to halt operations for a couple of days. The corporate agreed in early October to combine the communities into its worth chain, although they aren’t inside the asset’s space of affect.

Total, operations at Las Bambas have been disrupted for near 400 days since 2016, based on firm estimates. 

With manufacturing capability of 400,000 tonnes of copper a yr (and important portions of gold and silver) or some 2% of the full world main output, the mine introduced in about 69% of MMG’s income in 2020.

Its closure will depart greater than 6,000 direct and oblique workers with out a job, 25% of them residents from the Apurímac area, proper earlier than Christmas.

Copper value up

With a rosy demand outlook amid the transition to inexperienced vitality, consideration on copper markets has shifted to the availability image the place gaps have opened up. Former Glencore (LON: GLEN) CEO Ivan Glasenberg mentioned in June copper provides wanted to extend by a million tonnes a yr till 2050 to fulfill anticipated demand.

The Swiss commodities dealer and the world’s quantity 4 miner was strong-armed into promoting Las Bambas to a Chinese language consortium in 2014 after Beijing made the disposal conditional to its approval of the Glencore-Xstrata merger. Glencore used the proceeds of the $6.2 billion money deal to shrink its appreciable debt pile on the time.

Click on right here for an interactive chart of copper costs

London copper costs jumped greater than 2% on Thursday on account of provides issues triggered by Las Bambas’ imminent shutdown.

Improved threat sentiment after the US Federal Reserve struck an upbeat tone on financial restoration on Wednesday, additionally boosted costs.

Three-month copper on the London Metallic Alternate was up 2% at $9,385 a tonne. Within the earlier session, the steel hit a low since Oct. 7 at $9,135. Essentially the most-traded January copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Alternate inched down 0.1% to 68,590 yuan ($10,771.04) a tonne.

March supply contracts have been exchanging fingers for $4.32 a pound ($9,504 a tonne) by noon on the Comex market in New York, up 3.2% in comparison with Wednesday’s closing.

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Written by colin


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