* New government measure on illegal mining expected
* Protests leader heading to Lima for dialogue
LIMA, March 15 Wildcat gold miners in
southeastern Peru suspended a protest on Thursday as the
government pledged to incorporate the vast sector into the
formal economy the day after three people died in a clash with
The government is trying to calm protesters who oppose
President Ollanta Humala's crackdown on illegal mining in the
restive Madre de Dios region. It says wildcat mining harms the
One of the protest organizers said there would be no further
demonstrations at least until Monday, when he would participate
in talks with the national government in the Peruvian capital.
"We have lifted the protest until we have dialogue in Lima,"
Luis Otzuka, head of the Federation of Madre de Dios Miners,
said on state television.
Three protesters were killed and 32 people wounded on
Wednesday, including seven policemen, in the deadliest
demonstration of Humala's young presidency.
Ending the protest is key for Humala, who has vowed to
resolve some 200 disputes nationwide over natural resources in
one of the world's top metals exporters.
More than 100 people died in environmental protests during
former President Alan Garcia's five-year term while four have
died in protests since Humala took office in July.
The government said it would announce a series of decrees
aiming to bring the 40,000 people in Madre de Dios involved in
the black-market trade into the formal economy.
"With the decrees that will be approved today, we are going
to ease the process of formalization a bit so these (informal)
miners are incorporated," Prime Minister Oscar Valdes said on
The government had previously seized and burned dredging
equipment and declared all unauthorized mining to be illegal and
punishable with jail time to curb activity it says pollutes
rivers with mercury, turns vast swaths of jungle into desert and
provides no economic benefit to the poor jungle region.
"Illegal miners don't pay taxes, they don't provide quality
jobs and the gold goes to other countries as contraband," Valdes
Even as it opposes wildcat mining, Humala, a former leftist
who has governed from the center since taking office, has
encouraged the construction of big, modern mines - like
U.S.-based Newmont Mining's $4.8 billion Conga gold
That project has been delayed by local community opposition
over concerns it would replace a series of alpine lakes in the
northern region of Cajamarca with artificial reservoirs.
Peru is a leading producer of copper, zinc, and silver. It
is the world's sixth-largest gold producer. Madre de Dios
produces about 19 million fine grams of gold per year, about 10
to 15 percent of Peru's annual output.