LIMA, Peru (AP) -- Thousands of Peruvians have protested a $4.8 billion open-pit gold mining project they fear will damage their water supply.
The owners of the Conga project in northern Peru are complaining however of trespassing and vandalism.
They say in a statement that about 1,500 people entered the highland mine's grounds Thursday, unhindered by police, and some set fire to a building storing PVC pipes. The mine's majority owner is U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp.
President Ollanta Humala's four-month-old government backs Conga, an extension of the oft-contentious Yanacocha gold mine, Latin America's largest.
Its environmental impact statement was approved last year.