MAC: Mines and Communities

State and mining company collusion challenged in Peru

Published by MAC on 2015-03-20
Source: Servindi, Reuters, statement (2015-03-19)

Mining conflicts in Peru continue to grab the headlines, with Newmont being at the heart of said conflict.

A US federal court is ordering Newmont to turn over evidence relating to police repression of protestors against Newmont’s proposed Conga mine in 2011 (see Dancing the Conga in Peru).

That alleged collusion between Newmont & the State appears to be alive & well in the case of Máxima Acuña, who continues to struggle to keep her house against harassment from the security forces (despite a legal ruling in her favour).

Finally, proving yet again that women are in the fore-front of the struggles over mining in Peru, a woman was injured in a protest on 10 March by a teargas cannister, while protesting Kimsa Orcco mining project owned by the Australian company Laconia Resources.

Federal Court Orders Newmont Mining to Turn Over Evidence to Peruvian Wounded in Protest

New human rights tool will shed light on the events leading to the paralysis of Peruvian Farmer during repression of 2011 protest

EarthRights International (ERI) press release

19 March 2015

Denver, CO: On Monday, a federal court ordered Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corporation to turn over evidence relating to police repression of protestors against Newmont’s proposed Conga mine in northern Peru. EarthRights International (ERI) filed the request in 2014 on behalf of Elmer Eduardo Campos Álvarez, a 33-year-old Peruvian farmer. Mr. Campos was paralyzed from the waist down in 2011 when he was shot in the back while peacefully protesting near the mine.

Mr. Campos, a resident of Peru’s Cajamarca province, where the Conga mine is planned, was among at least 24 protestors injured on November 29, 2011. He alleges he was shot by Peruvian National Police officers, under contract to Minera Yanacocha, a joint venture majority-owned and managed by Newmont. In addition to being permanently paralyzed, Mr. Campos lost a kidney and his spleen as a result of the brutality.

Judge Robert E. Blackburn issued Monday’s order under the Foreign Legal Assistance (FLA) Statute, which allows people to request evidence found in the United States that can assist a legal case in another country. ERI has pioneered the use of the FLA in human rights and environmental cases. In the past, the FLA has been used by large corporations like Chevron to gather information from their opponents and critics, but cases like Mr. Campos’s have put the tool back in the hands of those challenging corporate power.

In response to the ruling, Mr. Campos stated: “I am very happy about this news that the judge in Colorado has done justice because here in Peru there is no real justice for farmers.” Both a criminal investigation against the two commanding police officers and a civil lawsuit against the police are currently proceeding in Peru. Mr. Campos is represented in Peru by the National Coordinator for Human Rights.

“This decision requires Newmont to turn over numerous documents that we hope will shed light on the events leading to the shooting and paralysis of Mr. Campos,” said ERI attorney Marissa Vahlsing. The evidence includes photos and videos relating to protests near the Conga mine, reports of Yanacocha security, communications between Yanacocha and the police, and internal company communications. The court also granted Mr. Campos’s request to take a deposition of a Newmont representative.

Mar Perez, an attorney with the National Coordinator for Human Rights, added, “Peru has seen many cases of repression of protestors in recent years. This U.S. court decision will strengthen Mr. Campos’s ability to obtain justice here in Peru, and enable our courts to fully investigate his case.”

Contact
Marissa Vahlsing (U.S.A.): +1 (202) 466 5188 x111, marissa[at]earthrights.org
Ximena Warnaars (Peru): +51-1-447-9076, ximena[at]earthrights.org


Indigenous woman wounded by tear gas bomb for defending the Ccarhuarazo

Servindi

13 March 2015

Quechua villager was marching peacefully in defense of a sacred mountain threatened by mining

A woman identified as Constantina Garriazo Lopez was hit in the head by a teargas canister while marching peacefully in defense of Ccarhuarazo Apu in the province of Lucanas, Ayacucho, in the Andes of Peru.

The brutal attack took place in a massive march held on March 10, as part of a 48-hour strike called on by the Front for the Defense of the province of Sucre against the Kimsa Orcco mining project owned by the Australian company Laconia Resources.

According to Emilio Orosco, president of the front, the police presence in Puquio sent to stifle the march exceeded 300 police personnel.

The injured woman remained hospitalized and in the company of her family.

Meanwhile, social organizations expect a statement from President Ollanta Humala and the Ministry of Energy and Mines (Minem) on the future of the Ccarchuarazo sacred mountain.

The population of the province of Sucre and part of Lucanas opposes mining in the mountain because it is a sacred site and also headwaters of the Chicha, Pampas and Sondondo rivers, which supply both provinces.

The population demands the Minem the annulment of the decision to allow Laconia to carry out prospecting in the area.

According to media report by SER News, the 48-hour strike was a success and demonstrations against the mining project were massive.

The president of the Defense Front of Sucre said that the struggles will continue and that they are preparing a March of Sacrifice to the Capital city of Lima in April.

The proposed Kimsa Orcco copper-gold-silver project is located about 500 kilometers south of Lima, in the region of Ayacucho.

Laconia Resources acquired the project in March 2013.


Police invade Máxima Acuña Chaupe's home

Peru This Week

22 January 2015

Police and security officials invaded the home of Peruvian farmer Máxima Acuña yesterday, trying to prevent her from farming and restoring recent damage to her home.

The police officers, sent by US mining company Yanacocha, entered her land where she and her family live, attempting to deter them from planting and fixing damage from rainfall on her property.

Yanacocha is a branch of Newmont Mining Corporation that recently lost the long legal battle for Acuña’s land. The corporation fought for years to take away her rights of her land and they finally lost last Dec. 17, granting Acuña a final judicial decision that affirmed ownership of land she has owned for years.

But the battle continues to be fought. According to Telesur English, 20 police officers sent from Yanacocha entered Acuña’s property to prevent her from carrying out planting and restoring work on her land.

“In the area of ‘Tragadero Grande’ where the property of Máxima Acuña and her family is, a contingent of 20 police officers came in to prevent her from planting and fixing up her house which has been damaged by the rain and the environment of the highlands. This is something that they have done previously, and this year are doing it again,” said Teresa Arana from the Women’s Coordination for Water, Life, and Peace.

Marisa Glave, a political analyst for the Center for the Study and Promotion of Development told Telesur these incidents are common in the area and come from years of neoliberal policies.

“Practically everything that blocks a mining project is seen as an enemy of development or is seen as a sign of something that needs to be eliminated. Therefore, the government eliminates environmental protections and impact studies, reduces the number of studies required for a project and the capabilities of institutions to oversee whether there are environmental impacts, and also reduces the protections of citizens, like in the case of Maxima,” Glave told Telesur.

Farm people from these areas are often defenseless, not knowing how to negotiate or prevent these large corporations from illegally taking their land.


 

Police clash with opponents at Peru copper mine

Reuters

25 March 2015

Police in Peru fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Tuesday at opponents of Southern Copper’s $1.4 billion proposed Tia Maria mine in protests that threatened to further delay the project.

The company said early last month that it expected to receive a building permit by the end of March following the government’s key approval of its environmental plan last year.

Peru had rejected Southern Copper’s first environmental plan amid a wave of protests that turned deadly in 2011.

Protesters on Tuesday called for the government to nix the project because they say it will pollute agricultural valleys, said rice farmer and activist Juan Carrasco, 58.

“We’re going to keep protesting tomorrow and everyday until Tia Maria leaves,” Carrasco said.

Three protesters were wounded and two arrested in the clashes in Peru’s southern region of Arequipa, said local police chief Enrique Blanco.

TV images showed police firing tear gas at a crowd on a highway and protesters running into nearby fields.

Blanco said between 600 and 700 protesters, mostly women, took part in the march on Tuesday – the second day of protests. Carrasco said there were at least 3,000.

The Interior Ministry said it had sent 2,000 police to the region ahead of the protest to control potential unrest.

The energy and mines minister traveled to Arequipa last week in a bid to resolve differences with opponents.

The Energy and Mines Ministry and Southern Copper said they could not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Southern Copper, controlled by Grupo Mexico, had said it planned to start work on Tia Maria upon receiving the construction permit, usually a formality in Peru after the environmental plan is approved.

The project is expected to produce about 120,000 tonnes of copper per year.

Several mining projects in Peru, the world’s third top copper producer, have been suspended in the past decade because of local opposition, including Newmont Mining Corp’s $5 billion gold and copper Conga project, Bear Creek Mining Corp’s proposed Santa Ana silver mine, and Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd’s Rio Blanco project.

 

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