Peru: strike against copper mine hits Ayacucho

The People’s Defense Front in Víctor Fajardo province of Peru’s central Andean region of Ayacucho, on July 12 announced a one-week deadline for the Southern Peru Copper Corporation to halt its exploration activities in the area before local campesinos launch an indefinite civil strike, or paro. The Front’s president, Rubén Usccata Saccatoma, said the company’s operations pose a threat to mountain lakes that provide water to five communities in the province, and said there would be no negotiation on its demand. Southern Peru Copper began explorations on the local Cerro Chinchinga, Hualla district, in February. On July 5, the Front led a 24-hour “preventative” paro as a warning for the company to quit the zone. (Enlace Nacional, July 15; La Republica, July 13; El Muki blog, Peru, July 7)

There is some confusion as to the exact name of the company in question. The company’s owner, Grupo Mexico, recently changed its name from the Southern Peru Copper Corporation to simply Southern Copper Corporation. This how the name is referenced on the company’s official website. However, press reports in Peru still use the old name, or the probably inaccurate variant Southern Peru Cooper Corporation. Peru’s business website uses this variant. The company’s proposed operations at Islay village, Arequipa region, were cancelled earlier this year after three protesters were killed there.

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

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