Desperate indigenous group brings BHP's Cerro Matoso to a halt

A displaced Colombian indigenous group has shut down BHP's Cerro Matoso, the world's no. 2 ferronickel mine, with protests.

The Zenu people started protesting one week ago, and blocked road access to the site on Wednesday, bringing operations to a halt.

The protest leader Celedonio Padilla says that his group, numbering 6,000, wants land to which they can relocate.

"People don't have anywhere to live, and they also are getting cancer from the mining operation," Padilla told AFP.

He claims that soil and waterways have been severely damaged, preventing the Zenu from fishing, important to their subsistence.

The mining ministry has asked the protesters to stand down, promising to "guarantee public order."