Southern Copper Corp (NYSE:SCCO), the world’s fifth largest
producer of the red metal in terms of output, is once again facing community opposition
to its long-delayed $1.4 billion Tia Maria copper project in Peru.
Locals staged Monday a massive protest, blocking a portion
of the country’s main coastal highway to obstruct access to the mine site,
located in the southern region of Arequipa.
While the blockage has now been lifted, opponents continue to press the government to revoke the construction permit awarded to Southern Copper only a week ago, local paper El Comercio reports.
Tia Maria has been derailed twice – in 2011 and 2015 – because of deadly protests by farmers who fear the proposed open-pit mine will damage crops and affect water supplies in the southern region of Arequipa.
The protests against the massive project echo other fights
between anti-mining groups, farmers and mining companies in Peru over the last
few years. Most of them centre around who gets to use precious water supplies
in the country’s bone-dry areas.
Southern Copper estimates that Tia Maria will produce
120,000 tonnes of copper a year during an estimated 20-year lifespan.