New Marches Held Against Minas Conga Project

Opponents of a multi-billion dollar mining project in northern Peru held another march on Friday to reiterate their criticism of the project.

Newspaper El Comercio reported that some 500 people marched through the city of Cajamarca to oppose the $5 billion Minas Conga copper and gold project.

Police said the march was peaceful.

The march was led by Marco Arana, an environmentalist and former Catholic priest, and anti-mining activists Ydelso Hernandez and Eddy Benavides.

The activists reportedly discussed what further actions to take in opposition to the mine project.

Minas Conga is owned by Minera Yanacocha, which is a joint venture project between US-based Newmont Mining and the Peruvian mining company Buenaventura. The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation also has a small interest in Yanacocha.

Minas Conga has been put on hold since violent protests erupted in 2011 over concerns that it would hurt the local supply of water. The companies hope to restart work at the mine next year after building reservoirs to ensure water for the population.

While Peru’s central government has said that there is declining opposition to Minas Conga, many of the prominent protest leaders have continued to oppose its development.

Last week, protesters entered private company property and temporarily kidnapped a company security guard. A telecommunications tower was burnt to the ground, while other infrastructure was also vandalized.

The most recent protests come as Peru’s attorney general’s office has recommended charging the regional president of Cajamarca, Gregorio Santos, with kidnapping. The charges date back to his time as a rondero, a kind of community vigilante group. Santos has denied the accusations.

Santos has been a vocal opponent of Minas Conga and one of its most prominent organizer of protests.

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One Comment

  1. And people wonder why the tax-base for the region is shrinking. Where do the people think that the money for their region comes from? A mine that produces NOTHING, produces NO TAXES, either.

    Of course, if you are, like most of these “community leaders” …to be kind…a ‘socialist’, then you are happy. Socialism means that everyone is ‘equal’….EQUALLY POOR.

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