Peru losing US$560,000 a day due to mining protests in gold-rich region

Peru’s Madre de Dios gold-rich region is losing US$560,000 a day as a result of informal miners’ protests happening in the area since Monday, said the country’s president of the regional chamber of commerce, Roman Meza.

According to the state news agency Andina, Meza is calling for dialogue between authorities and informal miners because the city has been besieged by over 10,000 protesters.

“All businesses have been forced to close. Police surveillance is limited. The two most important markets have been closed. The miners threatened to take over the main road which would worsen the situation much more,” Meza was quoted as saying.

National informal miners association Fedemin kicked off an indefinite protest in Madre de Dios region on Monday, demanding the government to revoke a new decree that regularizes small-scale and artisanal operations.

Miners operating deposit illegally or breaking environmental rules now face up to 10 years in prison.
The regulation, according to Peruvian Informal Miners Association “Fedemin,” organizer of the massive demonstration, “discriminates against the sector and will put thousands out of work.”

The law passed last week established a new system to control and monitor chemical inputs used in illegal mining activities. It involves the involvement of a few state institutions. Tax agency Sunat will control tax and customs aspects; energy and mining investment regulator Osinergmin will oversee fuel sales, and production ministry will control chemical inputs.

The regulation also involves the armed forces and the public prosecutor’s office contribution.
Illegal mining in the area involves about 30,000 people, who earn more than five times the national minimum wage.

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