Peru Protester Shooting Death at MMG Mine Sparks Police Probe

  • Clashes near Las Bambas copper mine left 20 policemen injured
  • Three protesters were killed during demonstrations last year

Peru’s government is investigating police conduct during demonstrations against MMG Ltd.’s giant Las Bambas copper mine on Friday that left one protester dead.

Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio said a man was shot in the head and 20 police officers were injured during clashes near the mine in Cotabambas in the Andes mountains of southern Peru.

The violence erupted when about 150 police sought to disperse protesters blocking a road used by Las Bambas to transport copper from the mine to a port on the coast. The police chiefs that carried out the operation could be disciplined for not following procedures, Basombrio said in a video posted on the ministry’s website on Sunday.

The minister said a prosecutor will conduct atomic absorption tests on police officers to determine who fired the fatal shot. The clashes are the first since President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski took office on July 28. Three people died during protests near the mine last year.

MMG made its first shipment from the mine in January and expects to produce 2 million tons of copper concentrate in the first five years, making it one of the world’s biggest mines, according to the company’s website.

The latest unrest began last month when local communities marched to protest the company’s use of local roads for transporting copper from the mine. Glencore Plc, which sold the mine to a group led by MMG, originally planned to build a duct to transport the mineral. About 250 trucks use a dirt road to the mine each day, El Comercio reported on Sunday.

Domingo Drago, a Lima-based MMG spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the protests.

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