After two months of local protests that have turned deadly, Southern Per Copper, a division of Mexican-owned Southern Copper Corp., decided to temporarily suspend development of its $1.4 billion Tia Maria copper project near Cocachacra, Peru.
At full capacity, the open-pit mine is expected to produce 120,000 metric tons of copper per year.
Last week, Southern Copper CEO Oscar Gonzalez Rocha said in a public statement that the company would idle the operation and work to resolve the concerns of residents over the next 60 days.
To quell violent demonstrations in the Tambo Valley where the mine would operate, the government earlier this month sent in more than 1,000 troops to support the 4,000 police officers assigned to keep bridges, tunnels and highways open, according to the Associated Press. Two protesters and one police officer have died in clashes in which local farmers have set up barricades and burned tires to snarl traffic in Arequipa state. Some observers said the state response only made things worse.