Peru’s political crisis puts mining in the crosshairs – by Alisha Hiyate (Northern Miner – February 1, 2023)

Peru’s ongoing political crisis spells more trouble for miners in the world’s No. 2 copper producing nation, following two years marked by increasingly frequent protests targeting the industry.

The country was thrown into turmoil on Dec. 7, when former president Pedro Castillo was removed from office after less than a year and half on the job, after trying to dissolve Congress. The leftist Castillo, who made the move hours before he was set to face a third impeachment vote by the divided Congress, was impeached anyway, and has been arrested and charged with rebellion and conspiracy.

Castillo, Peru’s first Indigenous president, has widespread support among Peru’s rural Indigenous population — even after failing to make progress on a socialist agenda encapsulated in his slogan: ‘no más pobres en un país rico’ (no more poor in a rich country) and being dogged by allegations of corruption. (He also proposed holding a referendum on redrawing the country’s 30-year-old constitution that was blocked by Congress.)

Since his removal and arrest, protests and road blockades in support of Castillo have been unrelenting, damaging the country’s mining, tourism and agriculture industries. (In a Jan. 30 report, The Wall Street Journal put the count of road blockades at 65, while the government estimated the economic cost at US$1.3 billion in infrastructure and lost production.)

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