LIMA, PERU, November 5, 2004 — Minera Yanacocha, a unit of the US mining giant Newmont, admitted on November 4 that local protests forced it to stop exploring Mount Quilish in Peru.
Friends of the Earth International
Friends of the Earth International supported local Peruvian farmers struggling to protect their natural resources –especially water- and to reduce the social and environmental problems caused by Yanacocha mining operations.
The Newmont unit – South America’s largest gold producer- publicly asked the Peruvian government to revoke its license to explore the mountain for gold just weeks after fierce protests by local farmers and residents who objected to mining operations near important water sheds.
In newspaper advertisements on November 4 the company acknowledged that the complaints of residents were legitimate and stated that “…in light of the concerns and the desire of the people of Cajamarca, we have asked the Ministry of Energy and Mines to revoke the exploration permit for Cerro Quilish”.
Carlos Abanto of Friends of the Earth Peru (known as Labor) in Lima said: “Newmont’s decision to give up on Quilish was due to major protests from rural and urban people of the Cajamarca region. We hope that this signal is a lesson to improve corporate behavior and help reach the point where mistakes are acknowledged and opinions are respected.”
During its ten years of operations in Peru, Yanacocha has led to a range of conflicts, many of them over the decreased quality and quantity of water sources.
The Quilish deposit has ‘proven and probable reserves’ of 3.7 million ounces of gold according to company estimates.
The International Finance Corporation or IFC -the World Bank’s private sector lending arm- is shareholder of the Yanacocha mine. It received various official complaints from local residents and undertook a set of investigations into the allegations.
“It is good news that the IFC will not be involved in a project as controversial, risky and contested as the Quilish mine. Newmont’s Yanacocha decision to respect the wishes of local people sets an important precedent which the IFC should notice. The IFC should not support projects that local communities do not want,” said Janneke Bruil of Friends of the Earth International.
“It would be wise for Newmont to cancel any future operations on Mount Quilish and to always respect the will of people who ask for a halt to exploitation in their communities,” she added.
Friends of the Earth International is concerned by the devastating impacts of large scale mining on the environments, lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Large scale mining is an activity in the hands of few multinational corporations that put profits before people and the planet.
For more information:
Carlos Abanto of Friends of the Earth Peru (Asociacion Civil Labor) in Lima: Tel + 511 261 65 15 or email: email@example.com
Janneke Bruil of Friends of the Earth International in Amsterdam (NL): Tel: +31-6-52118998 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org