April 8, 2019 / 4:02 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Community must approve deal to end of blockade of Peru's Las Bambas mine -community president

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LIMA, April 8 (Reuters) - The indigenous community of Fuerabamba will only end its 2-month-long road blockade of the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru if a deal its leader reached with miner MMG Ltd is ratified in a village assembly, the community’s president said on Monday.

Gregorio Rojas told Reuters by phone that villagers will meet on Tuesday morning to discuss the agreement, which he signed late on Saturday after MMG offered to compensate Fuerabamba for using a road that crosses through its farmland.

The deal, which capped 10 hours of negotiations, appeared to end a long-running dispute between Fuerabamba and MMG over use of the road that had halted exports from Las Bambas and forced MMG to wind down production. The agreement signed by Rojas said Fuerabamba would end its road blockade on Monday.

Las Bambas produces nearly 400,000 tonnes of copper per year, equal to about 2 percent of global production.

Shares of MMG rose on Sunday to their highest in a month after the company said it would restore normal operations at Las Bambas.

But villagers continued to block MMG from using two local roads on Monday, Rojas said from the town of Challhuahuacho near the open-pit Las Bambas mine in Peru’s southern Andes.

Rojas said he was hopeful Fuerabamba would ratify the agreement with MMG, but said he would not know for certain until it is discussed in detail on Tuesday afternoon.

The agreement did not address demands from Fuerabamba protesters that the community’s three attorneys be released from jail, where a judge has ordered them to spend three years while they are investigated for allegedly trying to extort MMG. The lawyers deny wrongdoing.

Before Saturday’s negotiations, Rojas had said Fuerabamba would not end the blockades or talk with government until the lawyers were freed.

Reporting By Mitra Taj Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot

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