Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peru state of emergency over Conga mine to expire

The Peruvian government says it will not extend a state of emergency in force in three northern provinces.

It was declared after protests against a gold mining project turned violent.

The office of President Ollanta Humala said the state of emergency would expire on Sunday but that security forces would remain on alert.

In recent months five people have been killed in the protests against the US-financed Conga mine, Peru's biggest foreign investment project.

The government had declared a state of emergency in Celendin, Cajamarca and Bambamarca, suspending the right of assembly and other civil liberties.

Negotiators had asked the government not to renew the state of emergency to facilitate a new round of dialogue between protesters and the government.

Moving water
Opponents of the Conga project say it will destroy water supplies, but the Newmont Mining Corporation says its plans have been drawn up in consultation with local communities and meet the highest environmental standards.

The company called a temporary halt to construction work late last year, after thousands of people staged protests in Cajamarca.

The project, located some 3,700 m (12,000 feet) above sea level, involves moving the water from four lakes high in the mountains into reservoirs the company would build.

Opponents say the reservoirs do not adequately replace the lakes, which also provide groundwater for agriculture and irrigate pasture for livestock

The government says the Conga mine will generate thousands of jobs.