President Ollanta Humala (pictured), who was elected on a platform promising to rein in the mining giants, is facing multiple protests in Peru and is losing allies over his perceived support for controversial mining projects.
When Peruvian President Ollanta Humala came to power a year ago, he promised to bend international mining companies to the will of Peruvians. But as he works to resolve two major mining disputes in his country, the left-leaning nationalist is increasingly at odds with many of his own allies over what they perceive to be his failure to deliver on electoral promises.
However, with the mining industry accounting for 60% of the country’s export earnings, 49-year-old Humala faces a difficult crossroads.
The president was forced last week to publicly back his own prime minister, Oscar Valdes, who had been urged to resign by some lawmakers of the president’s own Gana Peru party. 63-year-old Valdes, a former military man, was blasted for what many observers called a repressive crackdown on anti-mining protests in the southern Espinar region near the city of Cuzco.
Espinar farmers blame Swiss-Anglo mining giant Xstrata, who own the local Tintaya copper mine, for poisoning their livestock and polluting water supplies. Clashes between police and Espinar residents calling for new practices at the Tintaya mine led to the death of two protesters and saw dozens more injured on both sides on May 28.
THE TINTAYA MINE (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Protesters also argue that the EUR3.8 billion Conga mine - owned by US mining firm Newmont - would forever compromise their water supplies. Disagreements over the Conga mine project in late 2011 triggered the resignation of Humala’s entire first cabinet only four months after it was sworn in.
An open-pit problem
Date created : 2012-06-03