MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Seven Injured in Confrontation Provoked by Thugs Contracted by Barrick Gold

Published by MAC on 2007-04-11

Seven Injured in Confrontation Provoked by Thugs Contracted by Barrick Gold

By CONACAMI Press prensaconacami@hotmail.com

Perú, 11th April 2007

A group of persons from the communities of Shecta and Santiago Antunez de Mayolo, supported by members of the National Police and workers of the mining Company Barrick Misquichilca attacked peaceful demonstrators today as they were carrying out a protest act in the mountain Condorwain. The confrontation between comuneros, or community members, left a total of seven persons injured, among them the president of the Campesino community of Cruz Pampa and leaders of other villages near Condorwain.

According to reports of the comuneros, there were at least fifty police and an undetermined number of thugs hired by Barrick Gold. These persons initiated the aggressions against those who are opposed to the exploration works on the Condorwain mountain.

On the other side, it was reported this afternoon that the district attorney of Huaraz, Ana María Valverde, met with leaders of community organizations to intervene in this situation. The protestors stated that despite the aggressions against them, they would continue in their peaceful protests within the framework of a regional 48 hour strike which is underway in Ancash.

MARCH TO CONDORWAIN TO PREVENT MINING EXPLORATION WORKS

Thousands of persons marched early this morning at dawn to Mt. Condorwain in the province of Huaraz in Ancash, to prevent the continuation of mining exploration operations there.

According to local sources, this display of force is part of the actions of protest that are being carried out throughout the Ancash region during the first day of a regional 48 hour strike called for today and tomorrow. As is known, the time period awarded to the mining firm Barrick Misquichilca to carry out exploration operations expired this past January 25, but despite opposition by residents, the Ministry of Mining and Energy awarded them an extension of another 195 days.

Community leaders of the area met with the minister of Mining and Energy, Juan Valdivia, to urge him to annul the extension of the exploration period and that he delay the execution of any mining project in and around Mt. Condorwain, but their request did not receive a satisfactory response.

In Condorwain there are at least 80 freshwater springs, which provide water for drinking, agriculture and cattle, and this is why the communities fear that exploration will end up harming the 15,000 inhabitants who live around the mountain. The leaders of the communities who leave near the mountain have said that instead of permitting mining in the area, the mountain should be given protected status, being that remains of stone paintings have been found and certified by the National Institute of Culture.

Additionally, it has been reported that another group of residents of Huaraz have met in the center of the city of Huaraz to participate in a march in opposition to the mining activities in different locations throughout the Ancash region. These projects have caused serious damages to the environment.

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