Canada's Bear Creek Mining Corporation said it will use "all available avenues" to insist on its right to open a silver mine in the mountains of southeastern Peru, after authorities suspended its concession.
Peru's government made the move Saturday following deadly regional protests by indigenous anti-mining demonstrators who fear that mines pollute area waterways and leave few local benefits.
The government of President Alan Garcia granted Bear Creek a concession to mine in the Santa Ana community of the department of Puno in 2007.
Bear Creek however said that any modification to that decree "is illegal and without basis" since the company had been complying with Peruvian law.
"Bear Creek firmly believes that stopping the Santa Ana project will not serve the best interest of either the local communities or those of Peru," the company said in a statement late Saturday.
Bear Creek CEO Andrew Swarthout said that his company "intends to immediately and vigorously defend its rights at Santa Ana through all available avenues," including Peruvian law and provisions of the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement.
At least five protesters were killed when riot police fired tear gas and live ammunition to keep anti-mining demonstrators from taking over the airport in Juliaca, in Puno province, on Friday.
Puno has been in the grips of a wave of protests against mining projects in the region, led primarily by indigenous Aymara people, the majority ethnic group in this part of the country.
Bear Creek says the Santa Ana project's proven and probable silver reserves stand at 63.2 million ounces.
The protests began to demand the revocation of Bear Creek's Santa Ana concession, but then expanded to include opposition to other area mines and now include opposition to the Inambari project, an ambitious plan to dam several Andean rivers and build what would become one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in South America.