LA PAZ – Officials in Bolivia’s La Paz province said Peruvian mining companies were illegally exploiting gold deposits on the Bolivian side of the border and had brought in heavy machinery for that purpose.
The mining operations in northwestern Bolivia are polluting Suches Lagoon and Suches River, whose waters feed Lake Titicaca, the La Paz government’s natural resources and environment director, Donato Capia, said in a statement.
He said Peruvian miners had diverted the waters of the Suches River and encroached 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) into Bolivian territory to conduct their work.
“Mining operations have resumed in this sector and Peruvian citizens from three mining companies and heavy machinery have ... invaded national territory,” Capia said.
A provincial government technical committee has verified the existence of the mining operations in the area and found that they have polluted the Suches River.
Meanwhile, a score of Bolivian mining cooperatives also are planning to conduct operations in the area, but they first must show compliance with environmental regulations.
The government committee said there are only three security-force members in the area and two military outposts in the towns of Antaquilla and Ulla Ulla, which amounts to very little monitoring of that section of the border.
Capia said a commission made up of representatives of the Mining, Defense, Interior, Foreign and Environment ministries will visit the area soon “with the goal of bringing a definitive end to the Peruvian invasion.” EFE