7 Dec 2011

State of emergency declared in northern Peru

1:03 pm on 7 December 2011

President Ollanta Humala of Peru has declared a state of emergency in a northern region that has seen bitter protests against a gold mine project.

Mr Humala said the measure would would last 60 days and allow security forces to restore public services shut by rallies and marches against the mine.

The American firm Newmont, which owns the mine, halted work last week after protesters were injured.

The BBC reports protests against the proposed mine have escalted to sabotage of machinery and clashes with the police.

The Conga project was to begin production in 2015. Located 3,700 metres above sea level, it involves moving the water from four lakes high in the mountains into reservoirs the company would build.

Protesters say the reservoirs do not adequately replace lakes, which provide groundwater for agriculture and irrigate pasture for livestock.