MAC: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2007-01-22


Muqui Network, Lima, Peru

22nd January 2007

The Muqui Network would like to speak to the public about the case of the mining project Rio Blanco, operated by Minera Majaz, subsidiary of British company Monterrico Metals, to state the following:

1. Minera Majaz obtained Environmental Impact Report approval for the exploration stage of the project as a consequence of an administrative process wrought with a series of irregularities; a situation documented by the Report Nº 001-2006/ASPMA-MA issued by the Public Ombudspersons Office.

The Ombudspersons report recommends that the situation be evaluated and that the "...corrective measures be taken and responsibilities be immediately taken to prevent a violent conflict, to correct the faults and comply with the obligation to guarantee to the Campesino Communities their constitutional rights to property, public participation, good public administration and the right to live in a healthy environment."

2. From the onset of operations in the year 2003, Minera Majaz has never had all of the authorisations necessary, issued according to current law, to carry out their activities. Therefore, they have been carrying out their activities in an unlawful manner.

The mining company has not taken into consideration the decree issued by the Ministry of Mining and Energy (MEM) in their report Nº 018-2006-MEM-AAM/JBA, in which the approval of the environmental study is clarified, which "does not constitute an authorisation to operate, develop or carry out mining activities," and that these activities require other authorisations issued in accordance to current laws.

Among these authorisations, Majaz is required to have permission of landowners, and in the case of the Campesino Communities, they need to have approval of two-thirds of the Communal Assembly. In MEM's Observation Report Nº 2001-2003-MEM-AAM/IB, the DP states that "the acts signed in 2002…are approved only by the Directive Boards of the Campesino Communities" and not according to the law and rules required by the very MEM.

Because they do not have solid arguments, Minera Majaz has changed their strategy and in later observations and in response to requests, does not refer any more to the cited acts, but rather to the permits which Minera Coripacha, S.A., their previous company name, received. With respect to the documents signed by Minera Coripacha, S.A., the DP states that "...Minera Majaz should prove that the Campesino Community has authorised the ceding of their contractual position in the permission which is awarded to Minera Coripacha, S.A., ...which is not currently found in the file." Therefore, the use of these permits are not valid for Minera Majaz.

3. Minera Majaz has not complied with the requirement that they present to MEM "updated documentation which shows the existence of a trusting relation between the communities of Yanta and Segunda y Cajas," regarding the use of superficial lands in accordance to the law. The campesino communities have made it clear, through notarized letters sent to the company and MEM that they have not given this permission.

This is why Minera Majaz has ceased their request for approval of the modification of the EIR, given that they could not meet the observations of the General Directive of Social Management of MEM.

As a consequence, Minera Majaz has never had the permission of the Campesino Communities of Yanta (Ayabaca) and Segunda y Cajas (Huancabamba), issued according to the law and pertinent rules. Therefore, the company is currently usurping lands and carrying out activities in an illegal manner, which is why all of their operations should be suspended while they do not have the permits. This issue is in the hands of MEM to make them comply with current laws and not legitimate an administrative process with serious irregularities.

It should remain clear that the strategy of Minera Majaz affects constitutional rights, such as the right to property and to live in a healthy and balanced environment; their actions seek to generate instability and uncertainty and create a climate of violence in the zone. The affected populations demand that the laws be respected and require a State which stands up for their rights.

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