Indigenous women at San Juan de Canaris, protesting the invasive mining
Authorities have rejected attempts to mount a referendum on the Conga gold and copper mine in Cajamarca, northern Peru.
Locals in Cajamarca, northern Peru, are concerned about the mine’s potential impacts on water sources. Opposition led to the mine’s suspension but in January developer Newmont Mining announced in January that it would spend US$150 million on the Conga project this year. Community groups plan to hold a popular vote in July and have called on the office of the human rights ombudsperson, the Defensoría del Pueblo, to oversee it.
However in a statement, the Defensor Eduardo Vega Luna said that such a role would fall outside his institution’s mandate and would fail to promote dialogue. He also noted that a consultation on Conga had already taken place, although said that the Defensoría “has pointed out that mechanisms for participation in mining projects must be substantially improved.” The public prosecutor also said that a regionally organised referendum would be illegal, as consultation on large-scale projects falls within the remit of the mining ministry.
Delegations from Cajamarca and Cañaris, the scene of recent violent clashes over the planned Cañariaco mine, travelled to Lima on 13 February to ask President Humala and his cabinet to cancel the projects. Cristobal Barrios, president of the San Juan de Cañaris community, demanded the government respect last September’s community vote in which 97 per cent rejected the Cañariaco project. Conga’s opponents hope to gain a similar popular mandate through their planned referendum.
Northern Peru: Police hold off indigenous women at San Juan de Canaris, protesting the invasive mining by Canadian company, Candente Copper.
The Cañariaco Norte mine is in the early stages of development by Candente. The Defensor has stated that the new prior consultation law must be enforced for this mine. In a letter to the government, Vega has asked that an investigation be made into whether Candente is properly complying with the law.
Further south, discussion continues on the contributions Xstrata’s Espinar Tintaya-Antapaccay mine should make to the local community. Source
El Frente de Mujeres Defensoras de la Pachamama - Women Defenders of Mother Earth
A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is done. No matter how brave its warriors or how strong its weapons.