A key official in Peru's Environment Ministry has resigned as protests persist against a $4.8 billion gold mining project by peasants who fear it will damage their water supply.
Deputy minister Jose de Echave tells The Associated Press that he quit Monday because the government "lacks an adequate strategy for dealing with social conflict."
He criticizes the decision to put the chief Cabinet minister in control of environmental impact studies for mining. Activsts say that will further emasculate the Environment Ministry, which already must defer to the Mining Ministry on such matters.
U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp. suspended construction at the Conga gold mine for a fourth day Monday due to continuing protests.