September 19, 2017 / 2:45 PM / 3 years ago

Peru farmer sues miner Newmont in U.S. court over alleged abuse

LIMA (Reuters) - A farmer in Peru is suing Newmont Mining Corp (NEM.N) in U.S. federal court, claiming the miner used violence and threats to try to evict her from her home to make way for a gold project, the environmental group representing her said on Tuesday.

The lawsuit filed last Thursday by Maxima Acuna and her family in U.S. District Court in Delaware, where Newmont is incorporated, aims to “stop a pattern of harassment” by Newmont and its security personnel in Peru, EarthRights International said.

The lawsuit charges the company on counts including battery, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and seeks damages of at least $75,000 for each affected member of Acuna’s family.

Newmont spokesman Omar Jabara said in a statement emailed to Reuters that the company had not yet been officially served notice from either EarthRights International or the court. He said the family has recently “been engaged in direct, good-faith dialogue” with the company.

“We encourage them to remain engaged in this process,” Jabara said.

Newmonth’s Peruvian unit has previously accused Acuna and her family of illegally occupying land that it said it had lawfully purchased in the 1990s in a highland region where it once hoped to build a $4.8 billion gold mine.

Newmont put the gold project, Conga, on hold in 2011 amid violent protests by local farmers worried about its impacts on water supplies.

Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Leslie Adler

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