Peru: government to mediate in dispute over Tacna copper mine

Peru’s national government pledged to establish formal talks between Southern Copper and the regional government of Tacna region to resolve a dispute over scarce water resources. Authorities in Tacna say they want Southern Copper to stop using groundwater that it relies on to operate two of its copper mines, at Toquepala and Cajone. Tacna’s president, Guillermo Chocano, said mines in the desert region should rely on desalinated seawater instead. The regional government has called for a halt to protests to give the government time to respond to its demand that approval of an environmental impact study on the planned expansion of operations at the Toquepala be suspended. But he and provincial mayors promised a strike to shut down the region next week if their demand is not met. “We are ready to open a working group on this,” Prime Minister Salomon Lerner told reporters. “The strike won’t go forward.” He suggested the use of desalinated sea water rather than scarce groundwater for operations at the mines. (Reuters, Sept. 28; RPP, Sept. 27)

See our last posts on the mineral cartel in Peru and regional struggles for control of water.

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