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World Bank body rejects US$800M lawsuit against Peru over smelter

A lawsuit filed by Renco Group Inc. against Peru in 2011 over the country'salleged failure to clean up pollution surrounding the La Oroya polymetallicsmelter was rejected by the World Bank's International Center for theSettlement of Investment Disputes, Reuters reported July 18, citing a statementfrom Peru's Finance ministry.

The US$800 million lawsuit was unanimously rejected due to alack of jurisdiction, but the company has vowed to continue its legal action.It sued the government after alleging that it failed to clean up the areaaround La Oroya, as pledged, when Renco bought the plant in 1997.

"Indeed, the Tribunal's decision is an insignificantvictory for Peru as Renco plans to immediately refile the same claims in amanner that cures the technical legal defect that was the basis fordismissal," Reuters quoted the company as saying.

Renco's subsidiary Doe Run Resources Corp. was operating the smelter until itwas unable to buy concentrate in 2009. The company had no cash to finish anenvironmental cleanup and for upgrades to curtail pollution.

The smelter is facing liquidation on Aug. 27 if itscontrollers, Doe Run's former creditors, are able to sell it.

Peruvian president-elect, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, pledged topush for the restart of the La Oroya smelter and to source concentrate fromseveral nearby mines.

According to a 2007 report by an environmental group, TheBlacksmith Institute, the town of La Oroya was one of the 10 most pollutedplaces in the world.