Peruvian bus carrying mining workers plunges into abyss, killing 16

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LIMA (Reuters) - A bus in the Peruvian Andes transporting contract workers at MMG Ltd's Las Bambas copper mine plunged off a cliff on Friday, the company said, killing 16 people and injuring two.

The accident took place early in the morning while the vehicle navigated hairpin turns through the province of Cotabambas in Peru's Apurimac region, where the mine is located, the company said in a statement.

Workers from contract companies Manpower, Geotec, MB Renting, AKD Drilling, Lavalin, M&RC, JRM and JP Natlian were involved in the crash, MMG said.

The company said authorities were investigating the cause of the accident and expressed its willingness to cooperate.

The sprawling Las Bambas mine, one of Peru's largest, lies between the province of Cotabambas and a neighboring one. Peru is the world's second copper producer.

Accidents in which buses plunge off cliffs are not infrequent in Peru. The Andes mountain range traverses the length of the country, with harrowing roads overlooking tall cliffs.

Local Peruvian radio station RPP earlier reported that the bus fell some 200 meters (656 feet).

(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun and Marco Aquino; Editing by Sandra Maler and Michael Perry)

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