MAC: Mines and Communities

Dorato Resources Suspended by Peruvian Authorities

Published by MAC on 2010-02-23
Source: Aidesep, Dorato Resources, Cooperacción

Company claims notice of suspension has "no legal basis"

Ministry of Energy and Mines only suspends mining company Afrodita from the Cordillera del Condor, when the indigenous peoples demand they leave

AIDESEP Press Release

17 February 2010

Today the minister of Energy and Mines, Pedro Sánchez Gamarra, announced that the exploration activities of mining company Afrodita are suspended in the Cordillera del Condor because the company could not account for ownership of the lands. However, the minister did not explain that once the company can meet up to this requirement, it can continue to explore in the whole sacred territory of the Awajun Wampis peoples.

He also did not explain that the demand for suspension is not the claim the indigenous peoples are making, since we do not demand for a superficial suspension. We demand that the company not only leave the area but that the permissions for exploration and exploitation be denied indefinitely.

The president of the Ministry Council, Javier Velásquez Quesquén, tried repeatedly to convince civil society that the indigenous communities protest without reason because their demands have already been met. The president of the Council is wrong in his hypothesis because the indigenous peoples never asked for suspension, but the definite leave of the company from their sacred lands.

In various occasions the Apus (leaders) of El Cenepa rejected the Environmental Impact Study of Afrodita because it does not comply with the minimum standards of analysis. In addition, the Apu Zebelia Kayap denounced that the minister of Energy and Mines and the company met last January –regardless of the recommendations of the INRENA (National Institute of Natural Resources)- to reduce the National Park Ichigkat Muja which is a sensitive ecosystem and rich in flora and fauna.

Minera Afrodita’s Drill Program Illegally Suspended by Peruvian Authorities

Grounds for the Suspension Fall Outside of the Established Peruvian Mining Law

Dorato News Release

18 February, 2010

Vancouver, British Columbia - Dorato Resources Inc. (“Dorato” or the “Company”) announces that Minera Afrodita has received notice from the Peruvian mining regulator (OSINERGMIN), that exploration and resource definition drilling in the Cordillera del Condor must be suspended immediately. The regulator has stated that the suspension will be in effect until Minera Afrodita presents evidence of its authorization to use the land where exploration works are being carried out. The Company believes, based on legal advice, that this reasoning has no legal basis. Dorato has a right to acquire 100% of Afrodita.

The Peruvian government is stating that although Minera Afrodita has legitimate, long-standing mining claims and a valid drill permit, it does not own the surface rights and therefore cannot proceed with the previously permitted and officially endorsed drill program. The Company believes, based on legal advice, that this reasoning has no legal basis, as Minera Afrodita has only carried out exploration work on state-owned land, where such work is expressly authorized under Peruvian Mining Law pursuant to which no additional authorization is required.

The exploration authorization was granted to Minera Afrodita in December 2009, after having agreed with the local population, in a public assembly in the Santa Maria de Nieva town, the undertaking of exploration activities in the area. Minera Afrodita informed both the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) and OSINERGMIN about the commencement of the exploration works on December 10, 2009.

The notice to suspend activities, received by Minera Afrodita from OSINERGMIN has come more than two months after that formal notice was delivered.

The stance taken by the Peruvian mining regulator OSINERGMIN is fundamentally different to that taken with all other Peruvian-based mining and exploration companies and sends a negative message. The ruling will do nothing to control illegal mining operations being conducted on Peruvian national territory by non-Peruvian nationals – unregulated, illegal mining in neighbouring Ecuador has already caused serious environmental damage in that jurisdiction.

Dorato’s involvement in the Cordillera Del Condor is based on the premise that the geological terrane hosting the world-class Fruta Del Norte and Mirador deposits in Ecuador, continues into the Peruvian territory, where Dorato has rights to acquire a 100% interest in 800 square kilometres of premium exploration ground. In Ecuador, the acquisition of resources discovered by junior exploration companies has totalled almost $2 Billion USD. Dorato management believes, and the results to date indicate, that the Peruvian territory has potential to host multiple significant to very significant base and precious mineral deposits of similar size and tenor to those discovered to date on the Ecuadoran side of the border. The potential discovery and subsequent production of such deposits would represent significant social and financial contributions at both the local and national levels in Peru.

Dorato has sought legal advice and will seek to utilize the full recourse of both national and inter-national law in order to protect its investments. The Company will be lodging official complaints with the Peruvian Consulate in Canada, the Canadian Foreign Office, the Canadian Consulate in Lima, with the highest levels of Peruvian government, and under the recently signed Canadian – Peruvian free-trade Agreement. Dorato has a right to acquire 100% of Minera Afrodita and all option agreements to acquire 100% interest in the properties remain intact. Tenure issued to Peruvian optionees remains in good standing and is not impacted by the suspension.

Peru: Avatar in Condorcanqui

Editorial comment by José De Echave, Cooperacción

10 February 2010

Eight months after the events of Bagua, a mining company’s lack of prudence and the  Peruvian government are creating once more a situation of extreme tension in the Amazonas region, in none other than the territory of the Awajun-Huampuis peoples.

What is the origin of the problem? The Awajun-Huampuis have seen how an important part of their territory –especially in the Cenepa district of the Condorcanqui province- has been handed out as mining concessions. Today, about 25 mining companies occupy more than 151 thousand hectares along the border with Ecuador. There are even mining concessions that are superimposed and occupy a large part of the National Park Chigkat Mujat – Cordillera del Condor.

The worst case involves the Canadian mining company Dorato, previously Afrodita. In the last year and a half the tensions between the company and the indigenous community have triggered marches and even the taking of the mining camp. In the last few months the leaders of the community have raised their voices in protest and demand that the State consider their case.

The Awajun-Huampuis have shown that the activities of Dorato are affecting their territory and that they have never been consulted as Peruvian and international law dictate. They demand more attention to be given to their authorities and protection of the headwaters of various river basins of which whole communities depend on. In addition, they demand that the National Park Cordillera del Condor be preserved and stop being reduced in size in order to establish mining concessions inside the borders of the conservation area.

The demands of the Awajun-Huampuis are justified. They bring into question, as many indigenous peoples in Peru, the fact that indigenous communities, and even the mayors of towns, are the last ones to find out that their territories are concessioned for mining activities.

Insisting in the development of mining activities in the area of Condorcanqui, as if these territories are empty and without proper consultation mechanisms is to provoke a situation of imminent conflict. It shows, in addition, that the painful lessons of Bagua have not been learned.

This is a case that deserves special attention. Hopefully, the demands of the Awajun-Huampuis peoples will be taken seriously, will be heard and above all considered by a State that has always been seen as far away and hostile.

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