Two killed as protests over vast mine in Peru turn deadly

LIMA - Two people were killed Monday when protestors worried about possible pollution due to expansion of the massive Las Bambas mine in Peru clashed with police, President Ollanta Humala said.

"Sadly, there are two dead. And we are trying to identify them," Humala told reporters.

Las Bambas - at over 4,000 meters' altitude - is the largest facility in the country, owned by the Chinese consortium MMG. It bought Glencore XStrata's assets in April 2014 for US$6 billion (S$8.6 billion).

Residents of the Apurimac area in southern Peru have asked the government to step in to address the conflict over the new facility. Many locals fear their water supply and crops will be polluted.

Humala said he would send a Mining and Energy Ministry delegation to the area.

"We are not against the Las Bambas mine as a whole. We have worked cooperatively with the mining people," said Henry Vasquez, a representative for the demonstrators.

"What sparked the protests was that a mineral (residue) treatment plant, and a waste storage facility started to be built and no one had even discussed it with the local people." Mining is one of Peru's economic pillars.

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