Owners of big copper mine fined $77,000 in Peru

Big copper mine owned by international consortium fined $77K for toxic slurry spill in Peru

Associated Press

LIMA, Peru (AP) -- Peru's environment minister says the government has fined the owners of one of the world's largest zinc and copper mines $77,000 for a toxic slurry spill last year that sickened dozens of villagers.

Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal tells The Associated Press that the Antamina consortium was fined for infractions that included a delay in alerting authorities. Immediately after the July 25 spill, he had called for the maximum penalty of $13 million.

Pulgar-Vidal says that under standards set since the spill, Antamina would have faced a higher fine. The new rules set a maximum fine of $41 million for a single incident of environmental contamination.

Antamina's owners are BHP Billiton, Glencore-Xstrata, Teck Cominco and Mitsubishi Corp.

The slurry caused nosebleeds, nausea, blurred vision and headaches. Some villagers complain of recurring symptoms.

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