Mirtha Vasquez, an attorney based in Cajamarca, Peru, has two young kids and a full caseload protecting communities from irresponsible mining activity in the mineral-rich Andean region. Yet she made the long trip to Wilmington, DE to join Earthrights International and Earthworks to attend Newmont’s Mining Company’s annual shareholders’ meeting. Together, we called on CEO Gary Goldberg to address the armed repression of protesters, untreated pollution, threats to water availability and other issues of concern to communities in the area.
Just over a week ago, on February 3rd, police and security officers backed by Newmont invaded the Máxima Acuña Chaupe's home to prevent her from making repairs to her house. Officers even destroyed parts of her home. This was the third such invasion of her land in 2015 itself. We ask you to take action against Newmont and for sanctioning this violence.
After being beaten, robbed and sentenced to prison for fighting to protect her property, Maxima finally got justice against mining behemoth Newmont two months ago. But despite the victory, police harassment, backed by the mining company, has not stopped.
Opposition is stacking up higher and higher against Newmont’s $4.8 billion mega gold project in Peru. Here is a quick run down of things that are beginning to impact whether this project is longer feasible, or not.
Today the Deputy Minister of the Environment, Jose de Echave, resigned in protest. Echave said that the Humala government "lacks an adequate strategy for dealing with social conflict." He also raised concerns about the weakening on the Ministry Environment after being restructured to defer to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers
The proposed Conga Mine project, located in the Cajamarca and Celendín provinces in Northern Peru, sits just to the Northeast of Latin America’s largest gold mine, Yanacocha.
As with most mines in this region, water is a major issue with the Conga project.The campesino communities and larger more developed centers rely heavily of the water sources of the region.
It is because of this reliance, and gold mining’s checkered history of contaminating clean water sources, that many communities near the Conga project are protesting the mega mining project.
Peru is once again front and center in Latin America’s new gold rush. Gold is trading at record prices, and multinational mining corporations are developing at record speeds to firm their grip on the precious metal. This blitz, however, is bringing with it a renewed wave of social conflicts and community resistance to these mega mines. It is, in it’s simplest terms, between clean water and dirty gold.
One project making major headlines is Newmont’s Conga project is Northern Peru.
GRUFIDES, a sustainable development group in Cajamarca, announced yesterday the filing of a new lawsuit against Newmont Mining for taking people's lands when the company and its partner started up the Yanacocha mine in Peru in the mid-1990s. The community of San Andres de Negritos filed the suit yesterday against Newmont and the government of Peru for having taken more than 600 ha of their communal lands to build the mine.
This new lawsuit comes during recent and ongoing formal complaints and protests over a spill of acidic effluent contaminating communities' water supplies. The regional government of Cajamarca even issued a statement condemning the spill and taking note of protests.