MAC: Mines and Communities

Peruvian Leaders Support $234,000 Fine of Doe Run Peru

Published by MAC on 2007-08-29

Peruvian Leaders Support $234,000 Fine of Doe Run Peru

Statement from the Health Movement for La Oroya

29th August 2007

Lima, Peru -- Government officials, NGO's, and leaders of la Oroya announced that they support the fine that DRP received last week from the Supervisional Authority of Investments in Energy and Mining (OSINGERMIN).

DRP was fined for four major infractions and one minor infraction at its smelter operation in La Oroya. The US $234,000 fine was issued to DRP for exceeding emission levels and illegal dumping.

Carlos Rojas from the National Environmental Council commented on the fine: "It was the implementation of environmental authority that the country was waiting for." He went on to say that this is a sign that the government is going make companies comply with the environmental laws, and that fines will be applied to lawbreakers.

Rojas concluded with this statement: "This should be a motivation for DRP and other mining companies to always comply with environmental regulations."

Iván La Negra, the chief of natural resources for the government of the state of Junín, declared that the fine should be considered a turning point in the national environmental regulation of DRP, even though this is the third time the company has been fined since 1997. This time the fine was more significant and according to La Negra, "You have to take it as a step ahead to help resolve the environmental issues. Fines don't resolve anything. Fines just point out what is going wrong. However, people have to keep working to see what is still going on in La Oroya, since the fine just indicates what has happened up until January, and we have no idea what has happened since them."

Monsignor Pedro Barreto, the archbishop of Huancayo and creator of the Roundtable on Environmental Dialog in Junín, indicated that the news of the fine is a sign that national government and the society are now aware of the problem and are heading in the right direction. "This sanction tells us that the civil society helps the national government take responsibility for social problems with life and the environment. People are concerned because DRP will not meet commitments (PAMA, an agreement/extension requested to fulfil operational clean up) for this year and in 2009."

Rafael Goto, president of the National Council of Churches added that he thought that the fine was deserved since the company has been breaking the law for many years which has affected the health and interests of the local population.

"The fine is a good precedent for the national government, which has to take its interactions with DRP more seriously," said Goto.

Alberto Barandiarán, president of N.G.O. Law, Environment and Natural Resources, explained that the government resolution is important to show that DRP has not complied with its commitments, in spite of announcements of large company investments. "This shows that they have the same attitude as always," concluded Barandiarán.

Miguel Curi, the former vice-president of the Health Movement for La Oroya, said "This fine does not solve the problem. We are asking some government officials that the amount of the fine be used for toxicology treatment and better nutrition in kids."

Richard Romero, the secretary of the Health Movement said, "This fine is a big step ahead for the Peruvian government, and very satisfying. We hope it will be followed by other actions."

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