President Ollanta Humala last year was forced to suspend the development of the $4.8-billion Conga gold mining project proposed by Colorado-based Newmont Mining and declare a state of emergency after residents in northern Peru's Cajamarca region blocked roads and clashed with police at the site.
The $1-billion Tia Maria copper mining project proposed near Arequipa by Arizona-based Southern Copper was halted in 2011 after clashes between residents and police left three dead.
But at a mining convention in Arequipa this week, Jorge Merino, the country’s minister of energy and mines, said both projects would soon resume.
Merino said officials with Newmont, which for decades has operated the Yanacocha gold mine near Cajamarca, and members of local communities were cooperating on the construction of reservoirs. Residents’ fears that Yanacocha had contaminated the local water supply, which Newmont denies, had sparked the protests.
“Relations between [Newmont] and local communities are getting better,” Merino said.
The two projects and others on the drawing board are important for the royalties and taxes they could generate for the government and the estimated 1 million new jobs they would create during the next three years, he said.
Mining opponent and former presidential candidate Marco Arana said Thursday in an interview that many members of the communities near the two proje...