High-voltage tower serving Poderosa gold mine in Peru destroyed by illegal miners

High-voltage tower destroyed by illegal miners. (Image by Minera Poderosa).

A high-voltage tower that supplies energy to the Poderosa gold mine in the northwestern Peruvian province of Pataz was taken down by illegal miners, Minera Poderosa said in a media statement.

The high-voltage tower was located near the Piñuto town center and the incident affected room 2190 of the Battery Energy Storage System Project La Morena, which halted operations and put the safety of the workers at risk.

In the communiqué, the mining company pointed out that this is the 11th time illegal miners have attacked its energy infrastructure in the past 12 months, which is part of the company deemed ‘terrorist tactics’ that threaten the country’s security. 

Back in December 2023, a group of armed men raided the Poderosa facilities, attacked the company’s security personnel, killed nine and injured another 15 workers.

The deadly victims were between 20 and 30 years old. Seven were identified as security guards and three as operators.

At the time, Peru’s national police regained control of the mine, seized weapons, and detained seven suspects of the deadly attack, carried out with high-potency explosives.

“Illegal mining has displaced drug trafficking as the main generator of illicit income in the country. This is an activity directly related to other crimes such as human trafficking, environmental pollution, extortion and hired assassinations,” this weekend’s brief states. “Illegal miners operate without any type of sanction, under the protective mantle of REINFO (Comprehensive Mining Formalization Registry), a registry that makes police and fiscal action difficult.”

The release closes by urging the Peruvian government to accelerate its fight against illegal mining.

Poderosa is an underground operation situated at an altitude that ranges between 1,250 and 3,000 metres above sea level.

Gold and silver are its main products, having produced 300,662 ounces of gold and 191,898 ounces of silver in 2022. 

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