Peru’s Interior Ministry confirmed that nine people were killed and 15 injured after armed men raided a Poderosa mine in the Pataz province, reported Reuters.
Police have “taken control of the situation,” seven people have been arrested and weapons seized, the ministry said in a statement. The attackers entered the mine shaft using explosive charges, “violently confronting internal security personnel from the company and taking four people hostage.”
“(Those arrested) are part of a criminal organization called La Gota del Norte, which is involved in illegal mining, extortion and assassinations,” added Fernando Reategui, director of special operations for Peru’s police force.
Poderosa said previous attacks have already led to the death of seven other workers and the destruction of 10 transmission towers. “These tragic events aren’t happening in isolation. They’re the result of a downward spiral of safety conditions in the zone,” the gold miner said, adding that organized crime has led to an “exponential growth in illegal mining.”
Peru is the world’s second-largest producer of copper, and an important silver and gold producer. India, Switzerland and Canada account for nearly two-thirds of Peru’s gold exports, according to the mining ministry.