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Indigenous protests in Peru halt output at Frontera oil block

LIMA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Indigenous communities took control of a small airport and an oil pumping station in Peru to demand the government clean up pollution, halting production at an oil block operated by Frontera Energy Corp’s, a tribal chief said on Tuesday.

Protesters in the Amazonian region of Loreto want government officials to fulfill state commitments to cleaning up oil pollution and building health clinics, said Aurelio Chino, the head of local indigenous federation Fediquep.

Villagers seized the Andoas airport in the region of Loreto and an oil pumping station operated by state-owned Petroperu on Sunday, halting operations at both installations as well as at Frontera’s Block 192, Chino said.

“Everything is paralyzed. Everything is closed,” Chino said by phone.

Frontera, based in Canada, produced about 8,300 barrels of oil per day in August, according to the Peruvian Society of Hydrocarbons (SPH).

The company declined to provide immediate comment.

The energy and mines ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Protests over oil and mining are common in Peru, the world’s No.2 copper producer and a relatively small oil producer.

Early this year, Frontera said it was reconsidering whether it would pursue new investments in Peru.

Reporting By Maria Cervantes, Writing By Mitra Taj and Alistair Bell