LIMA - Peruvian President Ollanta Humala declared a state of emergency late on Sunday to quell protests against Newmont Mining's $4.8 billion Conga mine project that have hobbled the region of Cajamarca for 11 days.
Humala, in a nationwide address, called leaders of the environmental protest intransigent and said the ruling would give security forces added power to ensure that roads, schools and hospitals could reopen after having been shuttered for days by rallies and marches against the proposed mine.
It was the first time in Humala's young presidency that he has used extraordinary powers to defuse a social conflict over mining in Peru, where some 200 disputes nationwide threaten to delay billions of dollars in planned mining and oil projects.
"Every possible means has been exhausted to establish dialogue and resolve the conflict democratically, but the intransigence of local and regional leaders has been exposed - not even the most basic agreements could be reached to ensure social peace and the reestablishment of public services," he said.
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