RPT-Peru's Humala approval tumbles to presidency low-poll
(Repeats to widen distribution)
* Humala's approval falls 5 basis points to 45 pct in June
* Mining-related social conflicts pummel president
LIMA, June 17 (Reuters) - Peruvian President Ollanta Humala's approval rating fell to the lowest level of his mandate in June, plummeting to 45 percent due to growing social conflicts over the country's key mining industry, an Ipsos Apoyo poll showed on Sunday.
The president's popularity shed 5 percentage points compared with May but remains above the 41 percent approval level he had as president-elect in July 2011.
World No. 2 copper, silver and zinc producer Peru is the scene of hundreds of conflicts over natural resources, which threaten to halt some of the $53 billion in mining projects planned by the private sector.
Mediating the conflicts - there is usually at least one violent protest a month, with several others brewing - has become the biggest challenge for Humala, who vowed to better living standards for the country's poor majority.
"Social conflicts and the population's sensation of misrule appear to be the main reasons for the fall," said Alfredo Torres, the director of Ipsos Apoyo. "The poll's results show citizens prefer dialogue to solve conflicts, but when the protests snowball, they demand public order be restored."
Even as the national poverty rate has fallen by half since 2004 to 27.8 percent, many rural communities near mines have been left behind.
One dispute the government has struggled to manage is over U.S.-based Newmont Mining's $4.8 billion Conga gold and copper project. Work on the mine in the northern region of Cajamarca has been on hold since November as townspeople say it would hurt water supplies.
Sunday's opinion survey, published in newspaper El Comercio, polled 1,207 people from June 13-15. It has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. (Reporting By Patricia Velez. Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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