After some villagers expressed concern before local authorities, the management team of Freeport-McMoRan’s (NYSE:FCX) Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru said the company is not planning to acquire farmland and other terrains that are in use to expand its operations.
Neighbours’ associations from the towns of La Joya, Hunter, Tiabaya, Uchumayo, Mollebaya and Yarabamba raised the alarm following the publication of ordinance 541-2014, which was issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. In the document, Cerro Verde’s expansion project, which aims at tripling the concentrator’s capacity from its current output of 409,500 tonnes per day, was deemed of national interest, which means that the miner has permission to purchase the terrains that would allow it to complete the job. However, such pieces of land must be considered wasteland and third parties’ rights must be respected.
Yet, La República newspaper reports that, based on documentation from the Regional Government Planning Office, the claims that Cerro Verde is eyeing overlap with those under the oversight of some neighbours’ associations.
According to the news outlet, the mayor of Tiabaya, Miguel Cuadros Paredes, forwarded the resolution to his legal team and sent a notification to the miner prompting it to provide details on its plans. Similarly, the mayor of Mollebaya, Jaime Tueros, will ask Cerro Verde to join a meeting with seven other local authorities to discuss the issue.
Cerro Verde is an open-pit operation that produces one billion pounds of copper per year. It is located approximately 30 kilometres southwest of the city of Arequipa and it is controlled by Freeport-McMoRan with a 53.6% stake, Sumitomo Metal (21%) and Buenaventura (19.6%).
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