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“In Peru, Chinese mining firm moves a town to get to the copper underneath”

Author: The Globe & Mail (Canada), Published on: 3 July 2012

July 03, 2012

High in the Andes mountain range, a Chinese mining company is now in the housing construction and demolition business as it works to relocate a Peruvian town that sits in the way of its $2.2-billion (U.S.) Toromocho copper mine…By late July, state-owned miner Chinalco says it will finish building a new city of paved roads and multistorey homes for 5,000 people currently living on the side of a giant red mountain of copper 4,500 metres above sea level…Residents from the poor, ramshackle town of Morococha, where children attend school steps away from discarded mine tailings, will get access to amenities they currently lack, like modern water, sewage and electrical systems. They will all also own their homes and no one will need to pay rent...“A project of this size has generated very high hopes,” said Pedro Salazar, Chinalco’s representative in Nueva Morococha, standing in front of rows of homogeneous homes with white walls and red roofs. “Other mining firms are looking at this as a point of reference.”…The stalled Rio Blanco copper project in northern Peru was stymied by bouts of violence before and after it was bought in 2007 by Zijin of China. A Peruvian iron ore mine owned by China’s Shougang Group has been dogged by labour and safety tensions since it was bought in 1992...Chinalco and other firms say they are trying to chart a different course, responding to pressure from the government and communities to be more socially responsible.

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