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Troubled Tahoe suspends La Arena

A bad week got worse for troubled Tahoe Resources (TSX: THO) after a protest prompted it to suspend mining operations at its La Arena gold mine in Peru from Thursday’s night shift.
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Protest prompts suspension at Peru gold mine

Staff reporter

The company said up to 100 people from the nearby La Ramada community illegally trespassed onto the property, disrupted operations and demanded payment for the alleged impact of blasting activities.

The protest comes just days after Tahoe discovered an attempted theft at the gold mine, with thieves understood to have cut five holes in a pipeline and placed five bags of carbon inside to absorb gold from the solution. 

Less than a week earlier, the company reported 12 of its security contractors had been kidnapped for several hours in Guatemala where its flagship Escobal silver mine remains in legal limbo.

Back in Peru, Tahoe said the protest was in response to meetings the company had held with community members who were demanding monetary compensation for the alleged impact of dust and vibrations from blasting.

It said La Arena conducted "extensive and regular monitoring" of the impacts from the mine blasts and the results demonstrated clear compliance with the law and the environmental quality standards.

"The company remains willing to engage in a peaceful and constructive formal dialogue process with the La Ramada residents and has reaffirmed its commitment to continue its efforts to minimise the impacts of the operations on the community," Tahoe said.

The company said it had filed formal charges against the protest leaders for illegal trespass and had also notified authorities.

It said it suspended mining operations to ensure the safety of employees, contractors and members of the community but said leaching activities continued normally "at this time".

Its shares hit a fresh 52-week low intraday of C$4.435 on Friday and closed down 1.1% to $4.49.