(Adds comment from government, background)
LIMA Feb 8 Protests over public work projects
in a remote highland region of Peru have blocked roads used by
MMG Ltd to transport copper concentrates from its mine
Las Bambas, a representative of the ombudsman's office said on
Hundreds of residents of the town of Challhuahuacho marched
on Wednesday for a third consecutive day to demand that the
government build a hospital and sewage system, said Artemio
Solano of the ombudsman's office in the region of Apurimac.
Protest leaders want centrist President Pedro Pablo
Kuczynski to travel to the town, at an altitude of more than
12,000 feet (3,658 meters)in Peru's southern Andes, to negotiate
a solution, said Solano.
The government said it was evaluating the situation. "A
process of negotiation, of dialogue is being developed with
communities," Defense Minister Jorge Nieto told reporters.
Las Bambas did not respond to requests for comment.
Protests in the region last year suspended the mine's
shipments of copper from the nearby port of Matarani and nearly
halted its operations. One protester was killed in clashes with
police who tried to restore transportation on a road that had
been used by the mine.
That road has remained blocked by four nearby communities,
despite the government's efforts to reach a deal regarding
payment for use of it. An alternate route that had been used by
the company was blocked on Tuesday, Solano said.
Peru is the world's second biggest copper producer, and it
is rife with conflicts over mining in far-flung regions where
basic services such as running water and paved roads are scant.
Challhuahuacho's population has grown rapidly in the past
decade as the open-pit mine was built, fueling calls for new
public work projects to support newcomers in one of Peru's
Las Bambas produced some 300,000 tonnes of copper in the
first 11 months of 2016, according to the energy and mines
(Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Sandra Maler, Toni