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Southern Copper Corp  said on Saturday that it was close to finalizing a deal with a group of communities to lift a protest that had led its Cuajone mine to suspend operations, pending the ratification of the agreement by local community assemblies.

The Cuajone copper mine suspended operations on Febuary 28, after four communities in southern Peru shut down water access to the company and also blockaded a rail road used to transport the mineral.
The company said the local assemblies for the communities could ratify the agreement as early as later on Saturday, which would allow the mine to restart operations.

Peru is the world’s No. 2 copper producer and mining is a key source of tax revenue. Residents of nearby communities have been increasingly protesting that mines cause pollution without contributing enough to the local economy.
Southern Copper, a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico is one of the Peru’s top copper producer and Cuajone is the company’s second largest mine in the country.

Reuters could not reach representatives of the four communities for comment. 

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