Four people were hurt Wednesday in a clash outside the Dominican Congress between mining company employees and opponents of a planned new mining project in the northern province of Monseñor Nouel.

The confrontation pitted employees of Falcondo - the Dominican subsidiary of Canadian miner Falconbridge - against activists led by lawmaker Juan Hubieres and the Rev. Rogelio Cruz.

Two journalists were struck by rocks during the fracas, while another person suffered a gunshot wound.

Falconbridge announced last week a temporary suspension of mining operations in Monseñor Nouel.

The company acted a day after Dominican legislators voted to declare the Loma Miranda parcel, site of Falcondo's planned expansion, a national park.

Falcondo insists the suspension had nothing to do with the vote in Congress and says it expects to resume work in Monseñor Nouel in the near future.

Hubieres and Cruz accused Falcondo and Sen. Felix Nova of paying company employees to disrupt Wednesday's protest outside Congress by activists seeking to protect Loma Miranda from mining. EFE