1 killed, 12 wounded as Peru police fire on mine protesters
At least one protester has been killed and 12 others wounded in an incident during which Peruvian police forces opened fire on a group of farmers demonstrating against a copper mine project in the South American country’s southern state of Arequipa.
Local health director Walter Vera said a 61-year-old man died in hospital at the town of Mollendo after succumbing to injuries suffered during the Wednesday rally.
Helar Valencia, a local mayor and opponent of the Tia Maria project, said 12 other protesters were also wounded during clashes with police.
Six of those wounded were reportedly hospitalized, while the rest were treated and released.
The opponents of the proposed $1.3-billion Tia Maria mine project in the Tambo Valley of Arequipa State argue that the project will pollute nearby agricultural terrains.
The mine, which is owned by Southern Peru Copper Corp. – a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico – is expected to add 120,000 tons of copper to Peru’s annual output of the metal.
Work on Tia Maria has come to a standstill since 2011 after three protesters lost their lives during rallies against the project.
In August 2014, the Peruvian government endorsed its revised environmental impact study, and a construction permit is to be issued.
Southern Peru Copper Corp. has said it will try to bring the Tia Maria mine project to fruition, with President Ollanta Humala asking opponents to give it a chance.