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Anti-mining riots in Peru claim four lives

30 September 2015

Clashes in the Apurimac region of Peru between residents of the Grau and Cotabambas localities and the national police have resulted in four dead and 15 injured protesters, according to local sources. Eight police have also been injured. The protests are against the Las Bambas copper mine, owned by Chinese company MMG, which locals fear will cause environmental damage to their farms, rivers and villages.

Stock image
Stock image

The $7.4 billion mine, some 72 kilometres from Cuzco, will produce over 450,000 tons of copper annually during its first five years of operation.

A group of local residents initially protested about the mine, fearing that their crops and livestock would be affected, but as the protest expanded and 2,000 demonstrators broke into the mine on September 28, police opened fire on the protesters causing the casualties.

The government declared a 30-day state of emergency in the Apurimac region on September 29 and sent extra troops to the region "to restore internal peace".

This is the second time this year a state of emergency has been declared in Peru to quell anti-mining protests. In May, a state of emergency was declared for 60 days in the province of Islay in Arequipa after protests against the Tia Maria copper mine turned deadly.

Peru is currently the third biggest producer of copper after Chile and China. It is seeking to overtake China, but its ambitions have been hampered by local opposition to the projects.

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