Production resumes at biggest gold mine in Latin America

Production resumes at biggest gold mine in Latin America

Production resumed at Latin America’s biggest gold mine, in northern Peru, after management agreed to talks and protesters defending their water supply lifted road blocks.

The inhabitants of Combayo stopped their protest “as a good will gesture to reach a peaceful and equitable solution to the controversy,” cabinet chief Jorge del Castillo told reporters late Wednesday.

Production at the Yanacocha company mine, owned by US mining group Newmont, had ground to a halt on Monday.

The officials said they would form a top-level committee to meet with the local population and discuss their concerns that mining has polluted the water supply.

Yanacocha management also promised that no legal action would be taken against Combayo inhabitants for their protest.

The cabinet chief said he and Energy and Mining Minister Juan Valdivia would both join the negotiating committee that will include Yanacocha officials and Combayo representatives.

Castillo said the first committee meeting would take place on Sunday in Cajamarca.

“When you talk, a deal is possible. This proves that you can avoid violence and still achieve agreements that benefit the nation,” del Castillo said.

Yanacocha, which last year produced 3.3 million ounces of gold and employs 10,000 people, said the week-long protest had cost it 1.8 million dollars (1.4 million euros) per day.

Peru is the fifth-biggest gold producer in the world and the mining industry is considered important to the national economy.

Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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