Peru villagers end protest at Barrick gold mine

Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:47am EST

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LIMA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Peruvian villagers have ended a
protest that blocked the road leading to Barick Gold Corp's
 Lagunas Norte mine for six days, the company said on
Wednesday.
    The end of the protest came as the company and the local
leaders agreed on Tuesday to participate in "workshops" to find
a solution to demands over jobs, wages and water supplies in the
area, the mining company said.
    About 200 villagers had blocked the road though output was
never affected, Barrick said. Peru, a major exporter of metals,
is the sixth-largest gold producer.
    Peruvian President Ollanta Humala has urged mediation to
avert hundreds of social conflicts between communities and
companies nationwide over royalties, water supplies and other
issues. 
    Lagunas Norte, which opened in 2005, was initially expected
to last 10 years. It produced 763,000 ounces of gold in 2011. 
    Some drilling and technical work has been done on Lagunas
Sur, an extension of Lagunas Norte. The company said it was
drawing up an environmental impact study for Lagunas Sur. 
    The area is dotted with high-altitude lakes, and residents
have said they want to protect them and to see local water
infrastructure improved. 
    In September, police clashed with protesters at Barrick's
other Peruvian mine, Pierina. One person died and at least four
were injured.
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