Lead protester against Newmont's (NYSE: NEM) Conga gold project, Gregorio Santos, is being accused of misusing public funds by awarding "contracts to a local businessman in violation of rules on transparent bids."
A Peruvian congressional committee recommended Thursday that the attorney general investigate the conduct of Santos, regional president of Cajamarca.
Congress will now vote on whether or not the investigation should commence.
Santos denied any wrongdoing Thursday via Twitter, calling the accusation "a fairy tale orchestrated by the government."
Newmont, the world's number two gold producer, claimed in April of this year that it remains committed to resuming its $4.8 billion gold-copper Conga project in Peru, but stressed willingness to reallocate capital to projects in other countries such as Australia, Ghana, Indonesia and the U.S.
Sources: Reuters; Newmont Mining