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Posted Tue Jan 6 2009: from Inter Press Service:
PERU: Open-Pit Mine Continues to Swallow City
CERRO DE PASCO, Peru, Jan 5 (IPS) - An immense open-pit mine located 4380 metres above sea level is swallowing up the centre of the city of Cerro de Pasco in Peru's central highlands, while the damages, in the form of toxic waste, spread to nearby villages. The government just signed a new law to relocate part of the local population, who for decades have suffered from the lead dust, dynamite explosions and toxic gases generated by the mining of zinc, lead and silver. The open-pit mine now operated by Volcan, a Peruvian company, in this city of 70,000 -- which is the capital of the province of Pasco -- is now 1.8 kilometres long. Neighbourhoods stretch all around its edges. The shabby houses located a few metres from the edge show cracks from the detonations, and children with blood lead levels far above the acceptable limits play next to vast heaps of slag. And in villages near the city, local peasant farmers watch their livestock die because of a lack of water, and contaminated grass.
[Read more stories about: contamination, bad policy, governmental idiocy]
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