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28 March, 2017

Peru referendum: 98% of Cajamarca residents reject gold mining

Between 2011 and 2014, there were 153 social conflicts based on problems with mining and access to water, most of them reported in the region of Cajamarca.

With a majority voting “No” in a popular referendum Sunday, local communities in Peru's northern province of Cajamarca scored a landslide victory against transnational mining giant Anglo Gold Ashanti, likely putting a definitive end to the La Colosa project and setting a precedent for the whole country.

According to the preliminary results — 20 percent of the vote is still to be disclosed — almost 98 percent of local residents rejected the extraction project in the area, corresponding to more than 6,000 votes.

The result is now expected to force local authorities to prohibit mining in the town, according to lawyer Diana Rodriguez consulted by daily El Espectador.

However, Anglo Gold Ashanti's representative in Colombia Carlos Enciso told the daily that the consequences will be “minimal,” quoting a recent ruling issued by the state's council that the effects of the popular consult cannot be retroactive, but only applies to future projects.

Rodriguez responded that the ruling is not binding and can be appealed, while the government is entitled to question the mining company's right to exploit its territory.

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