MAC: Mines and Communities

Renewed protests against Tia Maria project in southern Peru

Published by MAC on 2010-02-23
Source: Dow Jones

Objections by communities centre on fears for local water supplies

Protests Build Against Southern Copper's Proposed Peru Mine

Dow Jones Commodities News

10 February 2010

Renewed environmental protests against the planned Tia Maria copper mine project in Peru, owned by Southern Copper Corp., surfaced Wednesday.

Objections by communities living near the project center on fears the mine will ruin local water supplies, agriculture, fishing and natural resources.

The project "will have a devastating and fatal effect on human life and existing natural resources and ecosystems," local mayors wrote in an open letter published in newspaper La Republica, addressed to Peru's president and mining minister.

The letter said a public meeting on Feb 15 at which Southern Copper is to present the project's three possible water-supply options--underground, over-ground, or sea water--should be declared invalid.

It also reminded the government that more than 90% of communities in the area have already rejected the Tia Maria mine proposal in a nonbinding vote held last September.

Southern Copper operates mines, smelting and refining facilities in Mexico and Peru. The Tia Maria mine, in the southern state of Arequipa, is expected to produce 120,000 tons of copper annually as of 2012 following investments of about $1 billion.

Anti-Tia Maria protest actions, organized by local politicians and supported by Peru's umbrella union organization the CGTP, are expected this week or next.

Southern Copper said Wednesday it had no official comment to make on the situation, but it expected to adhere to the government's request to hold the Feb. 15 communications meeting unless otherwise informed.

-By Sophie Kevany, Dow Jones Newswires

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