MAC: Mines and Communities

"Disinvest from Monterrico Metals"

Published by MAC on 2006-05-02


British mining company involved in human rights violations

Netwerk Vlaanderen, Belgium Press Release

2nd May 2006

The British mining company Monterrico Metals owns the Rio Blanco copper/molybdenum deposit, located in Northern Peru. Rio Blanco will become Peru's second largest copper mine. The project threatens farmers and biodiversity. Confrontations with the police close to the mining site resulted in casualities on two occasions. The AXA group is the largest investor in Monterric Metals. According to Netwerk Vlaanderen, institutional investors that respect bacic human rights in their investment policy should disinvest from Monterrico Metals.

Monterrico Metals plc is a London based resource development company that operates exclusively in Peru. Monterrico Metals owns 100% of Minera Majaz SA which owns the Rio Blanco copper/molybdenum deposit (Rio Blanco) located in Northern Peru. Rio Blanco has enough resources to become the country's second largest copper mine, after a planned 2008 start date.

Thousands of local peasants are fiercely opposed to the Rio Blanco copper mine. They demand that Monterrico Metals stops all activities in the region. Mining will contaminate the rivers and make impossible the agricultural activities on which the rural inhabitants rely for their daily survival. In addition, the mining in the Andean Forests puts unique species, such as the mountain tapir, at risk. Open pit mining has a negative image in Peru. Since 2004 thousands of peasants have protested against Monterrico Metals. Confrontations with the police close to the Rio Blanco site resulted in casualties on two occasions. In April 2004, Reemberto Herrera Racho was shot by the police during a demonstration. At the end of July 2005 confrontations with the police resulted in the death of Melanio García Gonzales and 40 wounded.

Monterrico Metals violates human rights in its sphere of influence as it:

- Carries out a project without approval from affected communities. The local mayors signed the Jaén declaration to ask the ending of the mining project. Amnesty International mentions that the Rio Blanco project is in conflict with ILO convention 169, so long as there is no adequate consultation process.

- Fuelled the conflict between police and demonstrators, by spreading false allegations against the peasant movements. The conflict has resulted in two deaths.

- Participated in violent acts. On 12/03/2006 Raúl Urbina, Social Responsibility Manager for Monterrico Metals led a violent attack on a peaceful forum on mining and sustainable development in the city of Huancabamba. The attack resulted in several injured persons.

Monterrico Metals' Rio Blanco project is actually in conflict with the ILO convention 169 and the UN norms for business. Institutional investors that respect basic human rights in their investment policy, should disinvest from Monterrico Metals until the company stops its activities at the Rio Blanco site.

Monterrico Metals main institutional shareholders are AXA Framlington Investment Management (9.79 %), F&C Investments (9.13%), Lehman Brothers International (6.01%) and Amvescap plc (4.94%).

Netwerk Vlaanderen vzw is an Belgian NGO that promotes an environmentally and socially responsible approach to money. Netwerk Vlaanderen is a member of Banktrack, an international coalition for sustainability in the financial sector.

The information in this press release is based on a research report : Press dossier Monterrico Metals published by Netwerk Vlaanderen

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