Peru cancels US metal company’s smelter license, citing eco-disaster

Peru will cancel the operating license of the US company Doe Run for a large smelter complex at La Oroya, Junin region, as the company failed to meet a deadline for submitting a new environmental protection plan, President Alan García announced July 28. The law will be enforced and the permit canceled, said García during his address to the nation on Peru’s Independence Day.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines said Doe Run did not demonstrate it has obtained needed financing to meet environmental standards at the smelter, which was idled in June 2009 because of the company’s money problems. Doe Run, a subsidiary of New York-based Renco Group, has a debt of $110 million with suppliers, and had yet to make any investment in government-mandated environmental safeguards with an estimated cost of about $150 million.

The mining company had operated the smelter at La Oroya since 1997, processing copper, zinc, silver, lead, indium, bismuth, gold, selenium, tellurium and antimony. La Oroya is ranked sixth on a list of the 10 areas with the highest air pollution in the world, according to the Blacksmith Institute. (Andina, Bloomberg, July 28)

See our last posts on Peru and the mineral cartel in Latin America.

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