Minas Conga Opponents Hold Protests, Destroy Property

Opponents of the Minas Conga copper and gold project in northern Peru held protests Thursday, and invaded the mine project’s property and destroyed infrastructure, according to the owner of the project, Minera Yanacocha.

Yanacocha said in a statement that some 750 people participated in the protest. According to Yanacocha, the protesters burned a cabin and a telephone tower owned by Claro. They also held hostage a company security guard.  Police reported arresting one of the protestors on the march to the mine.

“Yanacocha reiterates its respect for all types of social expressions, providing they do not affect the integrity of people, private property, or the development of infrastructure that is a common good for all of Cajamarca,” the company said.

Yanacocha is majority owned by US-based Newmont Mining (51.35%), in partnership with Peruvian mining company Buenaventura (43.6%) and the International Finance Corp (5%).

The company’s gold mine, also called Yanacocha, is the largest in Latin America and the second largest in the world.

The Minas Conga project, also huge, is located near its current operations in Cajamarca region. The project has been on hold since 2011 due to opposition from local communities and regional politicians concerned about its impact on the water supply. The development includes draining at least two high mountain lakes.

The company is currently building reservoirs, where the lake waters will be channelled, to ensure supply for local communities and hopes to restart work on the mine later this year or in 2015, if it can convince residents to support the project.

Despite negotiations and town hall meetings led by the government’s conflict resolution office over the past two years, and a growing number of people in Cajamarca in favor of the project because of the indirect financial benefits in the future, the opponents of Minas Conga continue to campaign against the project and lead protests periodically to reiterate their opposition.

Minas Conga would require an investment of some $5 billion. The mine would produce between 580,000 ounces to 680,000 ounces of gold in the first five years of operation. It would also produce a significant amount of copper.

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One Comment

  1. herminia ponce vega says:

    que pena penita pena … que malos no?

    Y cuando nos envenenan no hay artículo

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