La Oroya, Peru

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  • The city of La Oroya, located in central Peru, is 112 miles (187 kilometers) northeast of Lima, the country's capital. It suffers from extremely high levels of pollution because of the smelting operation that is located there. At one time, it had the highest smelting chimney in the world.

    There has been human habitation at La Oroya from about 8000 b.c.e. The Spanish started a mine there in 1533, taking over workings by the Incas. The mine was used to extract copper and lead. However, because it was difficult to get to and from La Oroya, there was not much interest in the region. There was much focus on the town during the War of Independence, however, when the forces of Simón Bolívar were fighting the ...

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