MAC: Mines and Communities

Peru: Blockade at Cañariaco Norte project

Published by MAC on 2012-12-11
Source: Servindi,, Bloomberg

The Peruvian government has ignored an overwhelming community vote against a Canadian mining project, despite reportedly agreeing to do so.

In response, over 600 local people have blocked the entry road, and detained three geological engineers. 

Residents of Cañaris block highway, demand that Candente Copper withdraw

Servindi (translated from original in Spanish by Jen Moore)

5 December 2012

More than 600 community members from the district of Cañaris, province of Ferreñafe, Lambayeque, have blocked a highway along the way to the mining camp Cañariaco and have detained three geological engineers, according to Radio Programas of Peru (RPP).

They are demanding that the mining company withdraw from the area.

The area residents gathered from midday Tuesday in the area surrounding the camp mining project Cañariaco, in protest against the lack of recognition for the result of their local plebiscite results.

On September 30 2012 [corrected from October 30 in original article], the community of San Juan de Kañaris in Lambayeque held a local vote in which 95% of participants rejected the mining project Cañariaco, which belongs to the Canadian company Candente Copper.

Cristobal Barrios Tarrillo, Presidente of San Juan de Kañaris, stated that the current protest was undertaken given the central government's failure to recognize the community vote that was carried out.

"We have stated that we are not in agreement with either mining exploration, nor with mineral extraction. We would like the company to withdraw, but they are not going to do this until the central government makes a statement and withdraws their authorization, so that they will stop working on Cañariaco," said Cristobal Barrios, according to the daily newspaper Correo.

"We haven't spoken with the authorities of Lambayeque about our protest, but we hold them responsible for not supporting our protest. This is in the hands of the courts, and the central government should respond because blood could be spilled here," said the authority adding that they would step up their protest.

With an attitude of defiance, Candente Copper has already stated that it rejects the local vote and that it will continue with its copper, gold and silver project. The police reported that a contingent from the departments of Jaen and Cajamarca would reinforce the police force from Lambayeque that has been sent to ensure security in the area of the forest of Upaipitaq, two hours from the mining camp Cañariaco.

The march to the mining area is organized by ronderos campesinos and the Group in Struggle against Cañariaco.

Meeting with the Government

The community president was regretful that despite having met in Lima with the President of the Ministerial Council (PCM by its initials in Spanish), the ministers of Agriculture, Energy and Mines, and Environment had not reached a solution.

"The Ministry of Energy and Mines and other representatives were not interested in listening to the people," indicated the President of the community on national radio.

This despite the existence of an agreement to respect the decision of the community in the local plebiscite. According to Barrios, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Vice Ministry of Interculturalism and the company Candente Copper has committed to this.

The most worrisome for the local residents is that the project is already in the phase of construction and that contamination has already been seen in the headwaters of the Kañaris River from which the communities draw their water.

This considerably threatens the essential activities that the local residents depend on, such as agriculture and livestock husbandry.

The district of Kañaris

The district of Kañaris includes the campesino communities of Tupac Amaru, San Juan Tongorrape, and José Carlos Mariátegui.

There are 38 villages, including the district capital: Illambe, Mollepampa, Atupampa, Mitobamba, Sigues, Quirichina, Shin Shin, Alcanfor, Quinua, Tute, Pamaca, Mamagpampa, Taurimarca, Huacapamapa, Pandachí.

As well, Chillasqui, Suchco, Saucepampa, Congona, Casa Quemada, Sauce, Huallabamba, Palo Blanco, Santa Lucía, La Sucha, Hualte, T.P. Verde, Hierba Buena, Corralpampa and Cangrejera.

The majority of the population speaks quechua Incahuasi-Cañaris or quechua Lambayecano, a variant of quechua spoken in the western highlands of the province of Ferreñafe.

Note: As of Thursday, the three geologists who had been detained in a church were released and reported having been treated well. "When we started to feel hungry," said one to the Peruvian press, "we were released."

Workers detained at open-pit copper project in Peru

Michael Allan McCrae

6 December 2012

Candente Copper said workers driving to its Cañariaco Norte project, a large-scale open pit copper project in northern Peru, were stopped and detained on Tuesday.

"A group of consultants employed by AMEC Peru SA were unable to continue travel due to this blockade and the Company was advised that several of these people were detained for a period of time," wrote the company in a statement.

"Peruvian authorities travelled to Cañaris yesterday to assist in resolution of this matter and have now escorted the consultants out of the area."

The project is currently at the feasibility stage.

Here is the company's full statement:

Temporary Road Blockage in Cañaris

Vancouver, British Columbia

6 December 2012

Candente Copper Corp. ("Candente Copper" and/or "the Company") advises that on December 4, 2012 an access road to the village of Cañaris which is approximately six kilometres north of the Cañariaco Norte project site was blocked thereby restricting access to and from this area. This road is not connected to the access road to the Cañariaco Project.

A group of consultants employed by AMEC Peru SA ("AMEC") were unable to continue travel due to this blockade and the Company was advised that several of these people were detained for a period of time. Peruvian authorities travelled to Cañaris yesterday to assist in resolution of this matter and have now escorted the consultants out of the area.

To the Company's knowledge, all of the actions were carried out without physical harm. The Company's number one focus is the safety of all personnel and community members.

The Company is assessing this incident and will provide further information as it becomes available.

Candente Looking to Expand $1.5 Billion Peruvian Copper Project

Alex Emery


4 December 2012

Candente Copper Corp. (DNT) expects to make new discoveries next year at its $1.5 billion Peruvian copper deposit, the company's chief executive officer said.

Candente is waiting for a water permit to complete a $30 million feasibility study for its Canariaco project in the northern Andes, CEO Joanne Freeze said today in an interview in Lima. Canariaco Norte, one of three deposits in the company's concession, is feasible at a copper price as low as $2.25 per pound, Freeze said.

"We also plan to be drilling at Canariaco Sur and Quebrada Verde, where we could be making new discoveries," Freeze said today from the company's headquarters. "We believe we should get these permits fairly soon, as I have no reason to think it would be another three months."

Peru, the world's third-largest copper producer, has lined up $53 billion in mining projects over the next decade in a bid to double output, according to the National Society of Mining, Petroleum & Electricity, an industry group. Candente is holding talks with prospective buyers for its Canariaco project, Freeze said, without naming them.

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