MAC: Mines and Communities

Peru Says Miner at Odds with Indians Has No Permit

Published by MAC on 2009-11-30
Source: EFE, Business News Americas

Peru Says Miner at Odds with Indians Has No Permit

EFE, 21 November 2009

LIMA - Peru's Energy and Mines Ministry said that Canadian-owned miner IAMGOLD Corp. has no authorization to explore for minerals in the Amazon region, where the company's presence has spurred protests by indigenous communities.

The information was supplied by the head of the ministry's Environmental Affairs office, Felipe Ramirez, after Indians in the Peruvian Amazon complained about IAMGOLD's activities.

Ramirez's comments also came after an IAMGOLD representative denied to Efe that some of its employees were being held hostage by area residents and said the company would probably abandon its concession in the Amazon.

Yet, according to Ramirez, IAMGOLD has no concession for exploration or mining in the region.

"What they are doing is illegal," the official said, adding that the Canadian firm has not even sought authorization to operate in the Amazon.

Aidesep, an organization representing indigenous communities in Peru's Amazon region, said Thursday that five IAMGOLD employees were detained by residents of two communities after entering the Indian territories without permission from local authorities.

Those five people were engaged in taking soil and water samples, IAMGOLD executive Louis Gariepy said.

IAMGOLD denies unauthorized exploration in Amazonas

By Laura Superneau / Business News Americas

24 November 2009

Canadian miner IAMGOLD has denied claims by Peru's energy and mines ministry (MEM) that five employees were detained by local communities, after allegedly carrying out illegal exploration activities in the Cenepa area of northern Peru.

Locally owned Minera Sierra Dorada is also accused of unauthorized exploration in Cenepa, in Amazonas region, and three of its employees have been detained, according to a MEM statement.

"The ministry of energy and mines has not authorized them for exploration or mining in Cenepa. What they are doing is illegal," MEM's director of mining environmental issues, Felipe Ramírez, said in the statement.

The companies allegedly have not received, nor applied for, environmental permits for exploration, Ramírez said.

"The IAMGOLD employees were not detained as reported," company IR director Tamara Brown told BNamericas by email.

"When they were requested to leave the area, where they were taking water and soil samples, on the property of a willing third party individual, they departed. I am not aware that they did anything illegal," Brown said.

IAMGOLD has mines in Suriname, Canada, Mali, Botswana and Ghana, development projects in Ecuador, French Guiana, Canada and Burkina Faso, and grassroots exploration in West Africa and Latin America, including Peru, Brazil and Argentina.

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