Mayor Resigns Amid Threats During Newmont Mine Protests

The mayor of Celendin, the town at the center of anti-mine protests against US-based Newmont’s Minas Conga project in Cajamarca region, has stepped down amid death threats, according to daily El Comercio.

Mauro Siles resigned and left Cajamarca when he received threats following rumors that he had received money from miners, El Comercio reported.

“As a result, because there are no guarantees that I’ll be able to do my job, I’m stepping aside as mayor. Maybe then they will be satisfied,” Siles was reported as saying.

Local media told El Comercio that Siles was rumored to have signed agreements with some mining companies in order to obtain funds for local works, including the construction of a market.

Deputy Mayor Rosa Victoria Ortiz will head the municipality following Siles resignation.

Protests against Conga , Peru’s largest mining project requiring an investment of up to $4.8 billion, entered the seventh day Wednesday, as residents continue calls for the project to be cancelled over concerns about its impact on local water supply and contamination.

The protests continued despite an announcement late Tuesday by Newmont and the government that the project is being suspended as officials look to resume talks.

Conga is being developed by Minera Yanacocha, which is majority owned by Newmont. Cia. De Minas Buenaventura and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation also have minority stakes.

Conga’s proven probable reserves in 2006 were of 11.8 million ounces of gold and 3.2 billion pounds of copper, which would give an estimated mine-life of 19 years.

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