MAC: Mines and Communities

Peruvian community's will flouted; expert advice ignored

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01

Peruvian community's will flouted; expert advice ignored

Tambogande Update – October 17, 2003

Tambogrande Urgent Alert: Deadline Wednesday October 22 at 5 pm
Communities opposing the Tambograde mine project in Peru have stepped up their campaign and ask groups around the world to support their protests. (for background see: and

Public Workshops Blocked

Under the Regulation for Consultation and Participation in the EIA Approval Procedure, the Peruvian government is obliged to hold a number of public workshops in the area of influence of a proposed mining project. The purpose of the workshops is to inform the public of its rights and obligations, and to provide information about the project, particularly the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (there is some discrepancy among lawyers in the Mesa Tecnica about whether the government is legally obliged to hold these workshops or if this is simply advised to do so).

The workshops have started but they have been an overwhelming failure. The first workshops were undertaken in Piura, Sullana and Paita. Significantly, local authorities (local and provincial mayors, councilors, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, etc.) boycotted the workshops.

Since then, local protest has prevented the realization of any additional workshops.

The workshop planned for October 13 in the campesino community of Locuto was blocked by community members. The Ministry of Energy and Mines failed to solicit the permission of community authorities. Community members drove the organizers away and the police responded with tear gas. The workshop that was scheduled to take place the same day in the town of La Rita also failed. In that case, the MEM failed to secure a venue for the event.

A workshop planned for October 15 in Tambogrande also failed for lack of a venue. The municipality refused to permit the use of any municipal building for the workshop. Plans were then made to carry out the workshop in a local school. However, an emergency assembly of parents (400 people) was convened the night before and a decision was made that the school would not be used for the workshop given the parents’ opposition to the mine project. Plans were made by community members for a vigil the night before the workshop. Participants planned to block the entry of workshop organizers. The MEM canceled the workshop.

On October 16 approximately 300 outsiders were transported to Cruceta for the workshop that was scheduled to take place in that town. According to several documented testimonies, these outsiders were promised payment of 25 soles for their participation in the workshop (and to stir up trouble – they arrived carrying sticks, rocks and metal rods). Information about the presence of these outsiders was broadcast by radio in the community. Five hundred local residents gathered at the workshop venue and ran the outsiders out of town. Locals requested that the police (approximately 60 officers were present) identify these outsiders but this request was denied. Locals maintain that the outsiders were paid by Manhattan and that their purposes included instigating violence (so that the company could denounce the community as being violent and unreasonable) and ensuring the presence of hundreds of people at the event, so that it could be deemed a success.

On October 17 another workshop was to be realized in Las Lomas, a community that neighbours Tambogrande. The workshop was canceled by the MEM for lack of a venue and in anticipation of a local response similar to that seen the day before in Cruceta.

The MEM has announced that it will replace the workshops that have been canceled with several larger events. These larger workshops are scheduled to take place on Oct. 23 in Sullana, Oct. 24 in Piura and Oct. 30 in Lima.

Green Ribbons and Lemonade

In Tambogrande people are wearing green ribbons to express their solidarity with the fight to stop the mine. They’re also participating in nightly vigils in the town square to protest the workshops and public hearings. On November 7, they’ll prepare the world’s biggest lemonade.

Meanwhile, in Lima

The Mesa Tecnica is planning a number of events, several of which include:

-a press conference in Congress, with sympathetic members of Congress

-a breakfast with journalists that have the mining, environment and food beats – to highlight environmental issues as well as San Lorenzo’s contribution to Peruvian cuisine

-an event at the Lima public hearing that will involve hundreds of limes (pouring into the street?).

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