MAC: Mines and Communities

Uk Monterrico Metals Risks Violence In Peru: New Report Launched

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01

UK Monterrico Metals risks violence in Peru: New report launched


(PDF format, 4.7 MB) - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (PDF format, 1.4 MB)

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Relations between London-listed miner Monterrico Metals and local people in Peru need to improve if violence is to be avoided, the UK-based Peru Support Group said in a statement on Tuesday.

In a report later on Tuesday, the group said that engineering standards at Monterrico's Rio Blanco project in Northern Peru need to be made safer.

"Opposition to many forms of mining throughout the country is growing swiftly as residents see few tangible benefits from projects which endanger their water supplies, animals and agriculture," the group said.

"The project runs the risk of centuries of pollution of the Amazon river as Monterrico extracts one of the world's largest deposits of copper and molybdenum." Peru is a major beneficiary of the worldwide boom in mining investment.

"As in other countries from Namibia to Papua New Guinea, mining industry policies have brought conflict and confrontations between mining companies and residents," the PSG said.

"Violent conflict has at times ended in death and injury of local people, as at the Rio Blanco project."

The Office of the Peruvian Ombudsperson -- the Defensoría del Pueblo -- concluded that the presence of Monterrico's operating subsidiary Minera Majaz on community lands was not grounded in law, the PSG said. The report prepared by five delegates who visted the mine last October said that the mine could leach poisons into the headwaters of the Amazon River for centuries after it closes.

"Damage from earthquakes and heavy rain is a very real possibility that must be taken into account with appropriate engineering practices."

Monterrico Metals agreed in early February to a takeover by a consortium led by Chinese No. 2 gold miner Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd.

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