Business, Economics and Jobs

Peru: Barrick gold mine protest leaves one person dead

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala speaks after signing agreements with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa before the closing ceremony of the fifth binational ministerial cabinets meeting and presidential round in Chiclayo, 750 km north of Lima, on February 29, 2012. Lucky for Humala, his family did not attend.



Yet another person has died in Peru's violent clashes over the mining industry. Residents in the city of Huaraz have been holding ongoing demonstrations to protest against the area's water shortage, which they say is caused by Canadian company Barrick, the Business Recorder reported. Barrick owns a gold mine in the area that residents say is polluting the local water. A police spokesman claims that protesters became "unruly" at the entrance of the mine today, leading to violent clashes. One person died and four were injured. 

The death does not bode well for the legacy of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. Since Humala became president in July 2011, 19 people have died in protests about natural resources, according to Human Rights Watch. Even before the latest death was reported, Human Rights Watch had been urging Humala today to stop letting police shoot and kill protesters, Reuters reported

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While residents worry about pollution, the mining industry maintains that the water is safe to drink. "The community does not want to use water that comes from the mine, even though it's treated and certified," a mine official told BBC News

In response to the death, Barrick announced that it would suspend operations at the mine today, the Wall Street Journal reported. Barrick is the world's largest gold producer. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch says that Barrick has a troubled history of dismissing human rights and environmental concerns, but that Barrick has also taken "some meaningful steps" to improve human rights problems in recent years. 

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