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31 Jan 2011

Tim Webb, Guardian [UK]

UK firm's partner 'wanted Peru to curb priests in mine conflict areas'

A mining company in Peru part-owned by [BHP Billiton] agitated for the removal of teachers and Catholic bishops to new posts away from "conflictive mining communities", according to a leaked US cable obtained via WikiLeaks...The US and Canadian ambassadors, who hosted a summit of foreign mining executives in Peru in August 2005, requested specific examples of "anti-mining" teachers and bishops...to take to government and church leaders...The Majaz open cast mine, owned by British company Monterrico Metals [part of Zijin] and site of one of the bloodiest protests...was said by company representatives to lie "along a foot track used by couriers who convey opium latex to Ecuador," reported the same cable...the cable...added that in the past there had been instances where...companies falsely claimed that drugs traffickers were co-ordinating protests to "enlist our [US government] assistance". Police shot three protesters at the Majaz mine protest, one of whom died. Protesters have issued proceedings in the high court in London against Monterrico Metals relating to the alleged "torture..." of demonstrators by police. The company...has vigorously denied any involvement in the alleged abuses...[refers also to Anglo American's Minera Quellaveco, Antamina (owned by BHP Billiton, Xstrata, Mitsubishi, Teck)]