On Friday night, Peruvian Prime Minister Mirtha Vasquez said it would shut down several mines in the Ayacucho region as soon as possible and not allow for any further expansion.

A meeting was held with Prime Minister Vasquez, certain vice ministers and regional authorities where they discussed alleged environmental complaints against the four mines. It decided to create a commission to negotiate a timetable and terms of the closure of these mining projects in the region. This included Hochschild Mining’s Pallancata and Inmaculada mines.

Hochschild Mining said it has not received any formal communication from the government regarding this matter.

The company said this conduct is completely “without merit” and illegal. It said it will “vigorously defend its position” and take any action necessary to ensure its right and respected.

“Hochschild categorically rejects any inference with regard to environmental pollution.  The company’s sustainable operations are strictly regulated and supervised by several Peruvian regulatory bodies and our activities remain in compliance with their requirements,” it added.

CEO Ignacio Bustamante said the company is open to entering into a dialogue with the government to resolve the issue.

“Hochschild is surprised by this unilateral announcement by the head of cabinet,” he said. “Our goal is to continue investing in Peru, growing our resources and extending mine lives, in accordance with the Peruvian legal framework.”

Vasquez said the operations already had a planned closing date and they must do so appropriately and in compliance with all standards and deadlines.