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Peru, mining syndicates reach agreement over La Oroya

By Tomas Monzon
Peru, mining syndicates reach agreement over La Oroya
La Oroya refinery in Peru. Photo by Christian Vinces/Shutterstock

LIMA, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Peru's government and a group of mining syndicates have reached an agreement over the situation at mining complex La Oroya.

La Oroya has been the site of numerous strikes, some violent, as the site's managing company Doe Run Peru continues to lay off workers. The agreement will install a high-level technical committee that will reactivate the site and push workers to return to their jobs.

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For their part, the miners have demanded better job protection for themselves and for the city where the mine is located to be placed in a state of emergency. Their demands take root in the government's authorization of military personnel to patrol the city and prevent attacks such as one on Tuesday that claimed one life and injured 61 others. The standoff occurred as police were attempting to reopen a blocked highway but were interrupted by individuals protesting a potential closing of the refinery.

The potential shuttering of the refinery, in turn, comes from the government's harsh demands for strict emissions controls, which has led the refinery's managing company to declare bankruptcy back in 2009.

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As per an earlier agreement, workers at La Oroya receive 50 percent of their salary. Were the company to be bought out, they would be the first to receive money from the sale. They seek a deal that ensures the activity of the mine, but are critical of the government's unwillingness to soften emissions standards demands. They cite that were the demands to be reduced, interest in purchasing the firm would increase.

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The government hired a liquidating company that stipulated no emissions amount greater than 80 micrograms of sulfur dioxide for potential refineries. Doe Run Peru's La Oroya emits a whopping 370 micrograms.

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