On Saturday, the Peru government declared a state of emergency in two provinces following the fourth death during protests against a mining project.
The presidency said, “The government has announced a declaration of a state of emergency in all the districts in Islay, Mollendo for 60 days. The government of President (Ollanta) Humala will defend the constitution firmly and forcefully for the right of all the people of Peru to live in peace,” as reported by CNN.
According to Reuters, the declaration came after the fourth death in the demonstrations against the Tia Maria project. Medical sources say the victim, 55, was shot in the chest. However, there was no confirmation issued by local authorities.
Four demonstrators and three police personnel were also injured when the mob attempted to take control of a police station.
The unrest began after communities situated near the Arequipa region said that the Tia Maria project, governed by Southern Copper, an affiliate of Grupo Mexico, could cause pollution to the natural resources, according to Forbes.
Julio Morriberon, director of institutional relations who supervises the project, referred to the demonstrators as “terrorists.”
Southern Copper is the third largest copper producer in the world.
Although the project was cancelled in March – with Morriberon announcing, according to Bloomberg, “I’m here to announce the cancelation of Tia Maria project and the complete withdrawal of our investment” – demonstrations didn’t cease as farmers and opponents demanding a complete revocation.
Southern Copper has assured that highest standards will be adopted. It also said that a desalination plant will be built as part of its revised environmental plan, approved last year.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Southern Copper will look to dig out 120,000 metric tons of copper a year beginning mid-2017.
Following the deaths of three people and ensuing protests, the project was put on hold in 2011.
Peru is the world’s second largest copper and fifth largest gold producer.
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