MAC: Mines and Communities

Tailings Release Threaten Drinking Water Of Juliaca, Perú

Published by MAC on 2006-07-09

Tailings Release Threaten Drinking Water of Juliaca, Perú* Los Andes Perú

9th July 2006

Now more than ever the population of the district of Paratia, in the Peruvian province of Lampa, is feeling indignant about mining operations in their territories, suffering what they call "an attack against the environment and the health of our own people." Around eleven in the morning on July 4, there was a failure of the tailings pools of the mining company CIEMSA Mining Unity El Cofre, a failure which released a great quantity of contaminated mining tailings.

This negligence on the part of the company meant that almost all of the Paratia river, which joins the Santa Lucia river, was contaminated, harming the local residents and their cattle - the only basis for community livelihoods. On the morning of July 6, a special commission traveled to the area, to carry out an evaluation of the contamination of the rivers.

The affected communities are San Antón, Huacullani, Pucarille, Alpaccollo, Chingani and Choroma among others - about 2,700 persons directly or indirectly affected. It is believed that the contaminants have reached the Cabanillas river in the neighboring Province of San Román, alongside Lake Titicaca.

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