Huánuco residents shut down city, urge Raura Mine to comply with its environmental cleanup plan

Thousands of Huánuco residents took to the streets Wednesday, demanding that the region’s Raura Mine get back on track with its environmental cleanup plan, which it has postponed since 2002.

“We’re tired of all these years of pollution,” said Abner Falcón Dávilla, mayor of San Miguel de Cauri. “We urge the central government to defend the lives of our brothers in Lauricocha, who are doomed to die a slow death.”

“We demand that the Raura Mine comply with its environmental cleanup plan and determine how it will compensate the children who have been contaminated by lead and cadmium,” said Congresswoman Yaneth Cajahuanca in comments to the Coordinadora Nacional de Radio, or CNR.

According to Peru’s Health Ministry, 50 children have tested positive for lead and cadmium in their blood. Lead poisoning, which occurs when lead builds up in the body, most likely over a period of months or years, can cause irreversible neurological damage as well as renal disease, cardiovascular effects, and reproductive toxicity. Children under the age of 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. And, at very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

The Raura Mine has been operating in the province of Lauricocha since 1960. According to CNR, it has so far contaminated more than 10 bodies of water, including Lakes Lauricocha and Caballococha and the Marañón River.

Though mining in Peru accounts for almost half of its annual $8 billion in exports – it produced 6.9 percent of the world’s gold in 2007 – it has repeatedly failed to invest in the mining communities where companies have often caused irreversible environmental damage by contaminating rivers and land. Protests are frequent as environmentalists and community leaders try to protect their land, health and future.

Sharing is caring!

Comments are closed.