MAC: Mines and Communities

British Ambassador To Peru Guarantees Environmental Protection In Río Blanco Mining Project

Published by MAC on 2005-11-11
Source: La Hora

British Ambassador to Peru Guarantees Environmental Protection in Río Blanco Mining Project

by La Hora, Piura, Perú

11th November 2005

The government of Great Britain will guarantee the protection of the environment in the hypothetical case that mining company Majaz - subsidiary of British company Monterrico Metals - is able to carry out copper mining project Río Blanco. This is according to British ambassador Richard Ralph, after visiting the mining camps and touring the affected zone located in Piura, Perú, along the border of Ecuador.

Surprised by the beauty of the Piuran mountain landscapes and the friendliness of the people, the diplomat, in a conversation with La Hora, said that the mining project, which represents an investment of $800 million dollars in its operating life, is a way out of underdevelopment. "Obviously Piura is not one of the poorest regions in the country, but this is an opportunity to overcome social deficiencies."

In Piura, "there are various possibilities for development: there is tourism, agriculture, agriculture and livestock exportation, but the fact is that Peru is a mining country; Piura has the wealth of minerals that the globalised world needs", continued the Ambassador. He said that the mining companies of his country, in addition to being obliged to comply with the strictest international norms and standards for protection of the environment and social resonsibility, also comply with the countries where resources are extracted, in this case, legislation of Peru, as well as the laws of Great Britain.

"Our norms are among the most rigorous in the entire world, and in our society there is much pressure on the part of shareholders and the British public for the companies to respect the environment; this is power of public opinion in our country, and this is why I have total confidence that Majaz is going to comply rigorously with all the norms," added Ralph.

Ralph stated that for Great Britain, investments in the mining sector are very important, and that "it is part of my job as Ambassador to try and resolve problems that are generated," mainly by the mistrust held by affected communities towards the mining projects.

He added that his country is concerned by the conflicts that British mining companies Monterrico Metals and BHP Tintaya (in Cusco) have faced, "but our position is that we are resolved to try and solve the problems, to reduce the level of mistrust on the part of the people of Perú." It is the responsibility of his government to create the structures, norms, and the levels of confidence so that the British companies can operate, obviously to their commercial benefit, but also to the benefit of Perú, added the diplomat.

Through many hours of travel throughout the region, the British ambassador got to know the zone where the Majaz intends to exploit the deposits of copper. "In the villages I have heard about the conflicts, of the problems of mistrust and it is obvious that there are some places where the people have developed confidence in mining, and in other places, no. The important thing is that the mines are bringing jobs."

He said that the members of communities who work in the mining projects should act as a sort of ambassadors. "They can clarify the misunderstandings, the lies and all that is said about the implications of the project."

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