Massive anti-mining protests in Peru

It’s not just New Zealanders who are increasingly rejecting the tired old rhetoric about “balancing” environmental protection with economic progress used to excuse environmental degradation. This from Cajamarca, Peru:

And when talks failed to get the agreement of protestors for the mine to go ahead, the Peruvian Government declared a full-blown state of emergency, including removal of the right to freedom of assembly:

Local residents and authorities in the northern Peruvian region of Cajamarca say they will continue to protest the Conga gold mine, despite the state of emergency declared by President Ollanta Humala.

The 4.8 billion dollar Conga gold mine project, to be run by the Yanacocha mining company, is backed by the government of Humala, a left-leaning former army officer who took office in July.

Yanacocha operates the largest gold mine in Latin America, 25 km southwest of Conga, and is owned by the U.S.-based Newmont Mining and the Lima-based Buenaventura corporations.

Peasant farmers, backed by local and regional authorities, environmental activists and independent experts, say the Conga mining operation would cause irremediable damage to four high mountain lakes, and deplete their water supply…

The 60-day state of emergency was imposed by Humala after Prime Minister Salomón Lerner failed – after 10 hours of negotiations Sunday in the city of Cajamarca, the regional capital, 160 km from the lakes – to convince the demonstrators to call off the protests, which have brought activity in the city to a halt for two weeks.

This has the potential to get very ugly indeed.

3 Comments Posted

  1. I just keep getting the feeling that the human race is going to take it right to the wire in terms of finding a true solution to all these immensely terrifying prolems that are facing our planet.

  2. Woohoo! Go the Peruvian mining protesters. Great to see they are being backed by the local government politicians in Cajamarca.

    A heads up for John, Gerry & Hekia. Surely they don’t want this happening here.

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