Canada's government announces new aid package for Peru closely linked to mining industries

LIMA, Peru – Canada’s prime minister has announced a new package of development aid for Peru that environmentalists are viewing warily because it is closely tied to Canadian mining investments in the South American country.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced aid Wednesday that his government’s website says amounts to $53 million and includes strengthening the effectiveness of environmental impact assessments of mining and energy projects.

That is nearly double Canada’s 2011-12 aid to Peru and includes spending on education and agriculture.

Harper met with President Ollanta Humala and told reporters that “responsible development” is vital to creating jobs and economic growth in Peru.

Canadian mining companies have some major investments in Peru, some of which have drawn protests. One $1.5 billion copper exploration project by Candente Copper was suspended last week following protests.