Protests in Peru halt operations at Rio Alto's La Arena mine

Mon Jun 3, 2013 10:09pm EDT
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June 3 (Reuters) - Rio Alto Mining Ltd said it has temporarily suspended some operations at its La Arena gold mine in Peru afer a blockade of the main road to the site as part of a protest against the country's police and judicial system.

The blockade, which began on May 29, could reduce the miner's total gold production this year, Canada-based Rio Alto said, but did not give specific figures.

The protests in the Sanchez Carrion province of northwestern Peru have choked the company's access to supplies at La Arena, its only producing facility.

Mining and construction had been halted due to a run-down in fuel stocks, and the remaining fuel would only sustain the mine's gold processing plants for 14 more days, Rio Alto said.

The company said last month it expected total gold production this year of 190,000 to 210,000 ounces.

Operations of bigger miners like Barrick Gold Corp and Newmont Mining Corp in Peru have been hurt by a wave of protests by indigenous groups who demand more say in the country's mining boom.

Peru is a major producer of copper, silver, zinc and gold.