LIMA, Peru – Peru's environmental protection agency says ore extraction has been suspended for three days at the Chinese-owned Toromocho copper mine since inspectors found toxic discharge contaminating two highlands lakes.
Agency inspections director Delia Morales said Monday that arsenic was among elements found in runoff from a tailings pile. She confirmed extraction had been halted Friday at the open pit mine in which Chinalco has invested $3.5 billion.
Chinalco issued a statement in Beijing saying it was taking the necessary measures to resume extraction as soon as possible. The mine began operation in December.
Peru's environmental agency posted video online showing a yellowish runoff into the two lakes.
Chinalco says the mine contains an estimated 1.5 billion tons of copper. A town was relocated to facilitate the mine's creation.