Southern Copper cancels work at $1.4bn Tia Maria copper mine in Peru

29 March 2015 (Last Updated March 29th, 2015 18:30)

Southern Copper has scrapped plans for further development of its $1.4bn Tia Maria copper mine project in southern Peru.

Southern Copper has scrapped plans for further development of its $1.4bn Tia Maria copper mine project in southern Peru.

The company said it will not continue to build the copper mine due to ongoing protests and a lack of government support.

Last week, protestors in Peru's Arequipa region clashed with police while demonstrating against the project.

Local police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at around 600 to 700 people, as they held an 'indefinite strike' that threatened to delay work.

"It will not continue to build the copper mine due to ongoing protests and a lack of government support."

Southern Copper institutional relations director Julio Morriberon told RPP radio: "Our company isn't ready to be a victim of these violent persons even more so when the government doesn't give us the guarantees and the needed backing."

Protesters opposed the Tia Maria project saying that it could damage water supplies, among other environmental concerns.

In August 2014, the company secured environmental approval for the mine from the Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mining (MINEM) to move forward with the project development.

Southern Copper had planned to produce 120,000t of copper cathodes a year and Tia Maria was due to start operations by 2017.

The decision to abandon progress at Tia Maria mine is said to be a blow for the government, as it was hoping to increase the country's copper production.

Southern copper operates mines and smelters in Mexico and Peru, in the Andes mountains south-east of Lima. It producing and refines copper, molybdenum, zinc, silver, lead and gold.

Mexican mining conglomerate Grupo México owns 75.1% of Southern Copper.