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Peruvian mining exports dropped 19.8% in January compared to the same month last year, the sector’s business chamber said on Tuesday, in the wake of devastating protests that have rocked the country in recent months.

Total mineral exports in the month totaled $2.473-billion dollars compared to the $3.1-billion recorded a year earlier, the National Mining, Oil and Energy Society (SNMPE) said.

For copper, which Peru is the world’s second largest producer of, foreign sales fell 25% year-on-year in the first month of the year, to $1.248-billion.

The association said the drop in copper sales abroad was driven by a 20.3% drop in volumes compared to the same month in 2022, as well as a 5.9% drop in the metal’s price.

Mining minister Oscar Vera said last week that local mines were once again beginning to transport copper concentrate to ports for exporting after protests hampered shipments.

Protests in the Andean country began in December over the ouster of former President Pedro Castillo.

In a report on the industry’s January production, the mining ministry referenced “the interruption in the southern mining corridor in the country due to social conflicts in the production of extracted copper“.

Meanwhile, gold exports saw an annual drop of 28% in January to $578 million, the SNMPE reported. This was off the back of a 30.8% drop in volumes and despite an annual 4% price hike.