Peruvian Indians once again show us how its done.
Agence France-Presse: Friday, June 24, 2011
At least three protesters were killed and 12 wounded Friday in clashes with police as demonstrators demanded an end to mining activities in southern Peru.
As a result, a Canadian mining company could lose its concessions there.
The Peruvian Mines and Energy Ministry said Peru’s government withdrew Vancouver-based Bear Creek Mining Corporation’s concession to develop a silver deposit, Bloomberg News and Peruvian media reported. The move was reportedly meant to appease local communities who were blocking roads and attempted to occupy an airport.
An estimated 1,000 protesters attempted to occupy Inca Manco Capac International Airport near Lake Titicaca. The protest followed a wave of anti-mining demonstrations that began last month.
“This is purely a reaction to a political situation” Bear Creek CEO Andrew Swarthout told Postmedia News. “It may work to quell the protests for a short period of time but it’s not a long-term solution.”
Since May, the southern region of Puno has seen large-scale protests against mining projects. Protesters began by calling for Bear Creek’s Santa Ana silver mining concession to be revoked, saying they feared it would pollute the water and bring few benefits to the local population.
The protests have been led primarily by Aymara Indians, a majority ethnic group in the region, which is one of the poorest in Peru.
The demonstrations expanded to include opposition to other area mines and the proposed Inambari project, which would dam several Andean rivers for a massive hydroelectric plant.
In response, the Peruvian government began by suspending Bear Creek’s environmental assessment process at the end of May, but on Friday, it appeared the government was prepared to go further.
As a result of the instability, Bear Creek’s stock has plunged. The company is also developing two other projects in Peru.