Govt investigates NGO role in mining protests

- Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Govt investigates NGO role in mining protests

Peru's government agency of international cooperation (APCI) has launched a 30-day investigation into whether non-governmental agencies (NGOs) are inciting anti-mining protests, local press reported.

The decision follows the latest disturbances at UK junior Monterrico Metals' (LSE: MNA) Río Blanco copper-molybdenum project in northern Peru's Piura department which have left one person dead and many others hurt.

Representatives of two NGOs - the national committee of communities affected by mining (Conacami) and the Andean center for education and development (Cadep) - have been called to respond to the APCI inquiry, according to Gestión.

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The mayors of Grau and Cotabambas provinces in southern Peru's Apurimac department have accused Conacami and Cadep of whipping up anti-mining sentiments toward the Las Bambas copper project, held by Swiss miner Xstrata (LSE: XTA).

Peru's police chief Marco Miyashiro has said authorities continue to collect information relating to the involvement of Piura NGOs in the Río Blanco protests. Authorities also say local drug traffickers and extreme political groups are behind the recent violence in Piura.

But local opponents to Río Blanco claim the project would affect coffee crops, water supplies and farmland.

Meanwhile three employees of Monterrico's Peruvian subsidiary Minera Majaz remain missing, apparently held by anti-mining demonstrators.

Monterrico Metals is completing a bankable feasibility study into treating 25Mt/y at Río Blanco initially to produce 220,000t/y of copper in concentrate and 3,000t of molybdenum in concentrate.

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