(Bloomberg) — In the endless jousting between global mining conglomerates and many Peruvians, Julio Guillermo had long been considered pretty marginal — an anti-government rabble rouser fighting not for a bigger share of the spoils but to shut mines down in his south-central highlands.
Like his fellow local activists, Guillermo, 49, bases his demands on pollution of waterways, which miners dismiss, and on an argument that’s harder to counter: his land in Ayacucho is sacred, no place to be gouging for silver and gold. “It’s like undoing your temple, your beliefs,” he says in an interview.
His approach never found much favor in Lima — until now. With the inauguration in July of President Pedro Castillo, a rural activist from a Marxist party, Guillermo has a powerful ally, and last month the government unexpectedly announced that the licenses of four precious-metal mines in Ayacucho wouldn’t be renewed. Share prices in Hochschild Mining Plc plunged.
And then the government — under pressure from the mining industry and conservative parties — appeared to shift back, saying it could allow extensions for those mines.
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