The schedule for Peru's Las Bambas copper project has not been delayed by last month's protests, the country’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, has said.

The $7.4 billion project is expected to begin operations in the first quarter of 2016, the minister said, according to state-owned news agency Andina.

Owned by a consortium led by MMG, Las Bambas will be one of the world’s largest copper mines, producing over 2 million tonnes of copper concentrates in its first five years.

According to Pulgar-Vidal, the original schedule will be maintained after an agreement was reached by the government with the locals who opposed the project.

Protests over the construction of a molybdenum plant at Las Bambas started at the end of September and led to three deaths and several injuries.

This caused the Peruvian government to declare a state of emergency in the area surrounding the project.

According to the minister, a key factor to end the protests was improving communication with people living near the copper project.

Several workshops have been organised in the Las Bambas region to “better describe the characteristics of the project, which are the modifications made to it and its possible effects, as well as the measures to mitigate these effects”, Pulgar-Vidal said.

Danielle Assalve
Twitter: dassalve_mb