MAC: Mines and Communities

Las Bambas impact study approved by Peru's mining ministry despite concerns

Published by MAC on 2011-03-14
Source: Reuters, CooperAcción

How is the relocation of Fuerabamba community being resolved?

The environmental impact study for Xstrata's Las Bambas copper project, in Apurimac, has been approved by Peru's mining ministry last week.

CooperAccion presented a set of observations to the study, when it was still under evaluation, and some of the issues included:

- Has Xstrata fully identified the impacts of their operation on third party rights? What was the criteria for establishing the socioeconomic baseline that identified 18 communities in the area of influence of the project?

- How does Xstrata plan to address the water management of the Fuerabamba River basin? It should be noted that the company will occupy about 70% of the river basin and will take water from a lake system located on the higher area of operations. Additionally, some facilities such as tailings dams, the open pits and waste rock dumps will be built on the headwaters that feed the Fuerabamba river.

- How is the relocation of Fuerabamba community being resolved?

- It is unknown how the issues around a pipeline that will cut across the provinces of Cotabambas (Apurimac), Chumbivilcas and Espinar (Cusco) are being addressed.

These are just some of the sensitive issues raised by the implementation of the project, that will demand clear proposals on part of the company, a supervisory role of the Peruvian State, and the appropriate involvement of communities in the area of ​​influence of Las Bambas project.

Cooperacción (9 March 2011) - Translated by MAC

See previous MAC post: Internet? Give us irrigation, Peru farmers say (2005)


Peru approves impact study for Xstrata project


7 March 2011

LIMA - Peru's mining ministry said on Monday it has approved the environmental impact study for Xstrata's $4.2 billion Las Bambas copper project, clearing a key regulatory hurdle needed to build the mine.

Xstrata, a Swiss mining group, plans to build the mine in the Apurimac region of south-central Peru. The mine would produce an average 324,000 tonnes of copper per year for 18 years according to the mining ministry.

Peru's President Alan Garcia has called Las Bambas "the contract of the century." Peru is a top metals exporter and the world's No. 2 copper producer after neighboring Chile.

"The project would not compromise the water quality of the Chalhuahuacho river," said Felipe Ramirez Delpino, head of Peru's mining and environmental affairs agency, referring to a key water source for local communities.

Xstrata, which also operates the Tintaya copper mine in southern Peru, previously said Las Bambas mine could be up and running in 2014.

(Reporting by Patricia Velez and Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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