Indigenous Peruvians get mining veto

June 25, 2011 at 7:28 PM
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LIMA, June 25 (UPI) -- The Peruvian government canceled a Canadian company's mining contract Saturday and gave indigenous groups a veto on future deals.

The action came after five protesters were killed Friday in the Puno region in southern Peru, CNN reported. The deaths occurred during an attempt to take over the airport in Juliaca.

The government decision shuts down the Bear Creek Mining Corp.'s Santa Ana mine. Officials said any future mining or drilling in Puno must have approval from indigenous residents.

"If the communities don't want mining, it can't be forced," Vice Minister of Mines Fernando Gala said.

Juliaca is on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Hundreds of tourists were stranded Friday when flights were canceled because of the violence around the airport, the BBC said.

Peru depends heavily on silver and other metals for much of its income.

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