A well-organised armed robbery on a Peruvian gold mine, in which two people were shot dead and more than £650,000 worth of gold and silver was stolen, has sparked fears that the country's most precious and profitable industry is under threat.
At least 12 people carried out the attack on the Tucari mine in southern Peru, killing two people, injuring two more and kidnapping the superintendent and head of security.
The gang, who raided the gold mine at gun point yesterday, made away with about 30 bars of dore, a mixture of gold and silver, worth an estimated £688,000.
The raidwas well-planned, something almost unheard of in Peru, which could have damaging implications for a country whose economy is dependent on its mining industry.
Mining accounted for 55 per cent of Peruvian exports and about 30 per cent of the country's total tax revenues last year.
If the raid proves not to be a one-off but the first in a string of similarly co-ordinated incidents, experts fear Peru, one of the world's biggest gold producers, could suffer from a fall in foreign investment and a slowdown in the economy.
Puno, the southern province which is home to the Tucari mine, would be one of the most vulnerable areas to such onslaughts, being one of the poorest and politically volatile. It has seen a wave of social unrest in recent years.Reuse content