Peru villagers end protest at Barrick gold mine
LIMA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Peruvian villagers have ended a protest that blocked the road leading to Barick Gold Corp's Lagunas Norte mine for six days, the company said on Wednesday. The end of the protest came as the company and the local leaders agreed on Tuesday to participate in "workshops" to find a solution to demands over jobs, wages and water supplies in the area, the mining company said. About 200 villagers had blocked the road though output was never affected, Barrick said. Peru, a major exporter of metals, is the sixth-largest gold producer. Peruvian President Ollanta Humala has urged mediation to avert hundreds of social conflicts between communities and companies nationwide over royalties, water supplies and other issues. Lagunas Norte, which opened in 2005, was initially expected to last 10 years. It produced 763,000 ounces of gold in 2011. Some drilling and technical work has been done on Lagunas Sur, an extension of Lagunas Norte. The company said it was drawing up an environmental impact study for Lagunas Sur. The area is dotted with high-altitude lakes, and residents have said they want to protect them and to see local water infrastructure improved. In September, police clashed with protesters at Barrick's other Peruvian mine, Pierina. One person died and at least four were injured.
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