Business Federation Calls Population To Reject Mine Protests

Business associations in southern Peru this week called for the population to reject violent protests against Xstrata and its Tintaya copper mine that have resulted in two deaths and numerous injuries, state news agency Andina reported.

The Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Southern Peru, Fedecam Sur, blamed the deaths on the “manipulation and swindling” of local residents by protest leaders.  They claim that protest leaders in southern Peru are linked to the same groups that have held protests against Newmont Mining’s large-scale Minas Conga gold project in Cajamarca region.

“We denounce that those who try to stop the development of the south of Peru are the same political groups responsible for the social disorder and the paralyzations in the region of Cajamarca,” Fedecam Sur said in a statement.

The business group says the protests have affected thousands of families and impeded development. It has called for authorities to bring legal charges against perpetrators of the violence.  Fedecam Sur includes the chambers of commerce of Andahuaylas, Apurímac, Arequipa, Cusco, Ilo, Juliaca, Quillabamba, Madre de Dios, Moquegua, Mollendo, Puno and Tacna.

The protests began last week for Xstrata to increase contributions to a development fund, from 3 percent to 30 per cent of its net profits. Demonstrators also claimed the Tintaya mine had been polluting rivers.

This week, protest leaders said they wanted the mine to be shut down after two protesters were killed during clashes with police and the government suspended civil liberties with a state of emergency.

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