MAC: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2007-07-31


Doe Run Peru Has Not Started Construction of Sulfuric Acid Plant, Continues to Disregard Peruvian Environmental Laws, Fines Expected to reach $10 Million

-- For immediate release --

31st July 2007

La Oroya, Peru -- The operator of the Metallurgical Complex of La Oroya, Doe Run Peru (DRP), owned by the Renco Group, announced to Bloomberg that it would begin to build a sulfuric-acid treatment plan starting July 26, 2007. Various other sources have released articles indicating that the construction is under way; however, no construction has begun.

The plan to build a treatment facility came as the result of a ruling by the Peruvian government which requires emissions from the lead circuit to be treated. This year DRP has not complied with State mandated Environmental Quality Standards for lead emissions of 0.5 mg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter). To date the company emits at least twice that amount.

Cresenciano Guzmán, secretary of the Municipal Environmental Commission of La Oroya, was informed that DRP would begin construction of the plant in 15 days. "During the inspection conducted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines from July 20-27, the company engineers showed us a large area where they said the sulfuric-acid treatment plant would be built," Guzmán said.

Miguel Curi, member of the Health Movement of La Oroya, explained, "The sulfuric-acid treatment plant already operating for the zinc circuit is considered by DRP to be brand new. The fact is, it was only renovated. The company is good at selling it's image." To date, the company has not approached the municipal government of La Oroya to serve as an intermediary for contracting the labor to build the new sulfuric-acid plant.

Rosa Amaro, president of the Health Movement of La Oroya, explained that the Federation of the Unemployed of La Oroya has requested to be included in the construction project. If the unemployed are not included in the construction of the plant, they will protest being excluded. "DRP has to win the approval of all of the La Oroya population," said Amaro.

Pedro Barreto, the archbishop of Huancayo and founder of the Roundtable in that state of Junín, spoke with the regional government about it's concerns that DRP did not comply with the Air Quality Standards. "It is about uniting our efforts. We know that the leadership of the state of Junín is willing to have an impact and appeal to the higher levels of government. Today, I spoke with the state Governor Vladimir Huaroc about La Oroya and the Kingsmill Tunnel. Huaroc is committed to Junín's well-being, along with the Roundtable. We are on the move," said Monsignor Barreto.

"In January and February, DRP emitted more than 1.5 m g/m3 at all of the test sites, which indicates it is mathematically impossible for DRP to comply with Peruvian environmental standards this year. There could be a fine that amounts to US $10 million," said Iván La Negra, Chief of Natural Resources and the Environment for the state of Junín.

La Negra also mentioned that DRP had moved some of the emissions testing stations around. The state government has demanded that DRP explain the alteration of federally required monitoring stations to the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

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