Along Peru’s mining corridor, Big Copper faces a snarl of trucks – by Marco Aquino (Reuters – June 19, 2024)

LIMA, June 19 (Reuters) – Surging copper prices this year have brought startling growth in the number of trucks carrying copper from illegal mines in Peru, jamming roads, causing accidents and creating hazardous conditions especially after dark along the Andean country’s key “mining corridor” highway, industry sources told Reuters.

With copper demand soaring as the world rapidly moves toward electric vehicles and clean energy, illegal mining has been booming. Trucks linked to artisan and illegal mining operations have been crowding vehicles from mines like Chinese-controlled MMG Ltd’s Las Bambas, Hudbay’s Constancia and Glencore’s Antapaccay.

Mining sources told Reuters about alarming growth in delays and stoppages on the 482-kilometer highway, a partially paved road that is essential for trucks of copper concentrate getting to the coast.

“There are as many (trucks) or even more than ours,” said a source close to Las Bambas in Peru’s southern Apurimac region, the country’s fifth largest copper producer last year. “It complicates life for all the mines using the corridor.”

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