Peru’s Southern Copper asks to cancel key meeting

* Miner asks for meeting to be postponed due to protests

* Meeting needed before it can get Tia Maria go-ahead

LIMA, April 17 (BestGrowthStock) – Peru’s Southern Copper has asked
the government to postpone a public meeting over its Tia Maria
project, which has sparked protests by villagers who fear the
mine will affect water supplies.

Southern Copper (SPC.LM: )(SCCO.N: ), one of the world’s
biggest producers, had planned to hold the meeting on April 19
to present its environmental plan.

The meeting was already delayed from February. Last year,
the presentation of the environmental plan had to be abandoned
when protesters started hurling chairs and tables.

The company said it had asked the mining ministry to cancel
the event due to “continuing illegal acts.”

Peru’s government assured farmers this week the mine would
not sap their water supplies but blamed the miner for failing
to win community support to avert protests against the project.

Farmers and ranchers, worried they will lose access to
water on the dry western slopes of the Andes, have blocked
Peru’s main highway to try to derail the meeting.

Southern Copper must make the public presentation to get
approval for its environmental impact study.

Police have used tear gas to disperse the protesters, who
set up a roadblock on Wednesday near the town of Islay, some
620 miles (1,000 km) south of Lima, the capital.

The Tia Maria project, which needs $934 million in
investments, would produce 120,000 tonnes of copper per year
starting in late 2011.

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(Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; Writing by Helen Popper;
Editing by John O’Callaghan)

Peru’s Southern Copper asks to cancel key meeting