MAC: Mines and Communities

Doe Run Promises To Cut Emissions

Published by MAC on 2006-03-20
Source: Reuters

Doe Run promises to cut emissions

by LIMA, Peru (Reuters)

20th March 2006

U.S. miner Doe Run Co., whose Peruvian metals smelter is blamed for poisoning children, on Monday promised to cut its toxic emissions by the end of 2009 to comply with Peru's environmental rules.

Privately owned Doe Run had been seeking an additional five years through 2011 to meet a government-mandated environmental plan, known as PAMA, to build a $100 million sulfuric acid plant and capture harmful emissions it pumps out every day.

But the government rejected that scheme despite Doe Run's position that it would be forced to pull out of Peru without the extension. The Missouri-based company runs the La Oroya smelter, one of the world's biggest, in Peru's central Andes.

"The company's economic resources will go to ensuring that the PAMA is met," said Juan Carlos Huyhua, general manager at Doe Run Peru. "That way, we would have the acid plant for zinc working by the end of this year, for lead by 2008 and for copper at the end of 2009," he added.

The La Oroya smelter, which processes 10 metals including silver, was built in 1922 and chugs out more than 600 tonnes of sulfur dioxide a day, above Peru's legal limit, according to company data.

Non-governmental organizations and scientists blame Doe Run, which bought the La Oroya smelter in 1997, for delaying the construction of the acid plant and endangering residents' health.

In a study released last year, scientists from St. Louis University in the United States said that 97 percent of the children in La Oroya under age 6 have harmful levels of lead in their blood.

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