LIMA – President Ollanta Humala has authorized the deployment of Peru’s armed forces in the southern province of Islay, where protests against Southern Copper’s Tia Maria project have left three people dead and more than 200 others injured in recent weeks.
An Interior Ministry order authorizing the military deployment and signed by the president was published on Saturday in the official daily El Peruano.
The document instructs the armed forces to provide support to the National Police to “secure and maintain internal order in Islay, a province in Arequipa region.
A general strike declared in the province will enter its 50th day on Monday.
Southern Copper, a unit of Mexico City-based mining giant Grupo Mexico, said on March 27 that it had no plans to halt the Tia Maria project, contradicting an announcement to that effect hours earlier by its official spokesman in Peru, who said the project would have to be scrapped due to “anti-mining terrorism.”
Southern Copper plans to invest some $1.2 billion in the construction of Tia Maria, which has an estimated mine life of 18 years and is projected to produce 120,000 metric tons of copper cathodes annually from the start of operations.