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Peru orders troops to strike-hit mining town

Peru’s government ordered troops into a mining town northeast of Lima on Wednesday to help restore order after protests by striking miners left one dead and more than 60 injured.

The miners went on strike Tuesday in the town of La Oroya to press the government to lift environmental restrictions on Doe Run Peru to enable the troubled mining company to return to full production.

Owned by US-based Renco, the mining company operates a polymetallic smelter in La Oroya that is blamed for serious environmental problems in the city, in the Andes (Taiwan OTC: 6533.TWO – news) 178 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Lima.

Hundreds of miners filled the streets of La Oroya and cut off a highway that links the city to the capital during Tuesday’s protests.

Details were sketchy but a regional health chief said one person died after being shot in the chest. Prosecutors said another 67 were injured, four of whom were in serious condition with gunshot wounds.

A government order said an unspecified number of troops were being deployed in La Oroya until September 10 to back up local police.

Meanwhile, the city’s mayor and Doe Run union leaders met in Lima with government officials to try to resolve the conflict.

“It’s all or nothing,” said one labor leader Walter Quincho. “If the mining complex doesn’t operate, the city will become a ghost town.

About 30 percent of the city’s 30,000 inhabitants make their living from mining.

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