MAC: Mines and Communities

Cajamarca, Peru September 7, 2004

Published by MAC on 2004-09-07

Cajamarca, Peru September 7, 2004

Dear all

This letter is from Grufides, an NGO dedicated to sustainable development and human rights advocacy in Cajamarca, north Peru.

Cajamarca is the home of Latin America's most important gold mine, owned by Newmont Mining Corporation (51.35% shareholder), a large gold mining corporation.

The Yanacocha gold mine in Cajamarca has been in production since 1993, and is causing social and environmental disruption locally.

Yanacocha wants to expand their mining into Mount Quilish, an important source of water to the Grande and Porcon rivers, both of which are the major source (70 %) of Cajamarca city's running water.

Last week, three thousand peasants blocked the roads to the mine when they felt that dialogue with the mine and national authorities were going nowhere (peasants complained of the closing of watering channels, a lack of dialogue with autorithies etc.). The peasants then demonstrated at Mount Quilish, where they were dislodged by the police, using helicopters and tear gas. The peasants then moved to the surroundings of the water treatment plant facilities and blocked the road. They are sleeping in the surrounding fields and the people of Cajamarca are supporting them with food.

Yesterday (Monday September 6) a round table meeting including a commission from the peasants, as well as the local and national authorities failed to happen because the representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Mines did not participate as agreed.

We are afraid that the social crisis will deepen, as all the people from the city and the country are asking to revoke the Ministry of Energy and Mines' legal ordinance, RD 361-2004, which allows Yanacocha to drill at Mount Quilish. This Ministry is reluctant to do this.

So, we are asking for solidarity. We are asking for your support to pressure the government into receiving the petition from all the Cajamarca´s people for the revocation of the RD 361-2004, and also to avoid thebrutal police repression of the local people who are asking for the elemental right to live in a healthy and wealthy environment.

We will appreciate if you sign letters supporting the campesino communities from Cajamarca, asking for the revocation of RD 361-2004, to the following addresses:

- Jaime Quijandría - Minister of Energy and Mines -
- Angel Baez - Advisor of the Minister -
- Julio Bonelli - Director of Environmental Issues MEM -
- Felipe Quea - Advisor or Social & Environmental Issues -


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