Jul 10th, 2012
Clashes between indigenous anti-mining activists and police have led to the death of a protester near the city of Potosi, Bolivia. Ongoing protests over the Malku Khota mine turned violent on Thursday. Protesters took several mine employees and police officers hostage, though most of them have since been released.
Although local police reported that one indigenous farmer was killed in the clashes, a federal official denied this and claimed the man was “drunk” and died in a dynamite accident.
The Malku Khota mine, owned by a subsidiary of Canada’s South American Silver Corporation, sits atop massive reserves of silver and indium, a rare element used in making LCD displays for flat-screen computer monitors and TVs. The indigenous Quechua protesters are calling for the government to revoke the mine’s permit three years early due to environmental contamination.
The clashes have sparked speculation that the Bolivian government may step in and nationalize the mine.