MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Following large scale Peruvian protests in September, Newmont has promised not to enter Mount Quili

Published by MAC on 2004-11-05


Following large scale Peruvian protests in September, Newmont has promised not to enter Mount Quilish - at least for the time being. But, many people consider this isn't enough and another action is planned, protesting other aspects of the Yanacocha operations.

Newmont won't expand Yanacocha

By Greg Griffin, Denver Post Staff Writer

November 05, 2004

Newmont Mining Corp. will abandon an expansion of its Peruvian gold mine that provoked two weeks of street protests in September.

The Denver company announced its decision in full-page advertisements Thursday in Peruvian newspapers. Newmont said it has asked Peru's ministry of energy and mines to revoke its exploration permit for Cerro Quilish, a mountain within its Yanacocha mine.

"We stepped back and looked at the situation and realized we didn't understand the true depth of the concerns of the people in the community," Newmont spokesman Doug Hock said. "We hope to build trust in Cajamarca, so that someday we can conduct studies and develop Quilish. Until that time, the project has been removed from our operation plan."

Newmont estimates that Quilish holds about 3.7 million ounces of minable gold, of which the Denver company owns 1.9 million. Early next year, the company will consider removing the Quilish reserves from its books, Hock said.

Locals consider Quilish sacred and are also concerned that mining it will contaminate Cajamarca's water supply. The Peruvian government agreed to suspend exploration rights at Quilish pending a dialogue with the community and an independent water study.

Marco Arana, a Catholic priest who led the protests, said Thursday that Newmont's move was a welcome first step in a process that should include more dialogue and respect paid to the local community's concerns.

"It appears to be an excellent decision, but it's a little late," Arana said. "They've known for many years that the people of Cajamarca and the farmers in this valley have many problems with the Yanacocha mine."

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