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Peru suspends Southern Copper's construction permit for Tia Maria copper mine

The Peruvian government suspended Southern Copper Corp.'s construction permit for its long-delayed Tia Maria copper mine pending a review, Reuters reported Aug. 10, citing Energy and Mines Minister Francisco Ismodes' interview with local broadcaster RPP.

The evaluation process, which may take about two to three months, will look into the legality of the permit as well as objections from local communities where the US$1.4 billion project will be built, the report said.

Past governments have denied the Grupo México SAB de CV unit the permit on fears that it would revive violent protests that first derailed the project in 2011, when three people died.

When it obtained the permit in July, Southern Copper vowed to not begin work unless it receives more support from residents near the project. However, that did not stop its opponents in staging protests against the mine, which they say may pollute the environment.

Protests against Tia Maria have reportedly stalled about US$400 million in copper exports from the country's top mines since July.