NUEVA FUERABAMBA, Peru (Reuters) – This remote town in Peru’s southern Andes was supposed to serve as a model for how companies can help communities uprooted by mining.
Named Nueva Fuerabamba, it was built to house around 1,600 people who gave up their village and farmland to make room for a massive, open-pit copper mine. The new hamlet boasts paved streets and tidy houses with electricity and indoor plumbing, once luxuries to the indigenous Quechua-speaking people who now call this place home.
The mine’s operator, MMG Ltd (1208.HK), the Melbourne-based unit of state-owned China Minmetals Corp CHMIN.UL, threw in jobs and enough cash so that some villagers no longer work.
But the high-profile deal has not brought the harmony sought by villagers or MMG, a testament to the difficulty in averting mining disputes in this mineral-rich nation.
Resource battles are common in Latin America, but tensions are particularly high in Peru, the world’s No. 2 producer of copper, zinc and silver. Peasant farmers have revolted against an industry that many see as damaging their land and livelihoods while denying them a fair share of the wealth. Peru is home to 167 social conflicts, most related to mining, according to the national ombudsman’s office, whose mission includes defusing hostilities.
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