Peru declared a state of emergency in the southern Andes region after two people died in protests against Xstrata Plc (XTA)’s Tintaya copper mine.
The measure will last 30 days as authorities seek talks with residents who have been demanding compensation for alleged mining pollution since May 21, Cabinet Chief Oscar Valdes said today in comments transmitted by state television.
Protesters in Espinar near Cuzco burned company offices and took a local official hostage, according to Lima-based Radioprogramas. Environmental protests have halted mining projects by companies including Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM), Anglo American Plc (AAL) and Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO) over the past year.
“These are extremists who have attacked authorities,” Valdes said from the Presidential Palace. “The state will remain firm as it has done from the beginning of this government.”
The mine meets environmental standards, the Zug, Switzerland-based company’s Tintaya unit said today in an e- mailed statement. Xstrata has financed 800 projects in the area such as a school, hospital and dairy plant and is willing to improve its social programs, it said.
“Tintaya rejects violence of any kind and invokes authorities to facilitate dialog that could lead to a solution,” Xstrata Tintaya said. “The social instability in the provincial capital is spurred by some leaders who are stirring up violence and causing the death of innocents.”
Xstrata, the world’s fourth-largest copper producer, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment sent outside of normal trading hours