Police in northern Peru say at least four people have been wounded in a clash with several hundred people trying to enter a Canadian-owned copper mine where drilling began last month.

At least a dozen people were wounded, with one man shot in the back with live ammunition, a local doctor said by phone. The man spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety.

Regional police commander Col. Jorge Linares denied that live ammunition had been used, saying police only used tear gas and rubber bullets.

Protests began Sunday against the CaƱariaco mine.

Its owner, Candente Copper Corp. of Vancouver, says it obtained approval from more than 700 locals in July. But local officials say the community rejected the mine in a referendum.