Peru: The Majaz case

In 2001, Monterrico Metals plc., acquired 8 mining concessions in Peru, one of which concerns the Río Blanco project in the north of Peru. If everything goes as planned, said project will involve opening one of the largest open pit copper mines of Peru, clearing the way for a large-scale mining district in the High Amazone region with serious social-economic and ecological consequences.

The mine is planned in the area of the Yanta and Segunda y Cajas agricultural communities. The project will make agriculture impossible in the wide periphery of the mine, harming many communities that are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. On the one hand, the quality and quantity of the area’s water supply will regress irreversibly, as such a mining project inevitably implies excessive water use. On the other hand, the exploitation of copper from an open mine is a highly polluting process for air, water and soil. All this harms the health of people, livestock and crops and renders agriculture impossible.

Besides agricultural communities, also the local eco system is under serious threat. The mine site is located in the fragile nebulous woods, nearby the páramos. These unique eco-systems are very important for local water supply. Moreover, they are characterized by an exceptional biodiversity and form the habitat of sorm the habitat of na en flora by an exceptional bio diversity and upply. quences.ome endemic animal and plant species.

Since 2002, the planning of the mine has been a source of social conflicts in the region. Monterrico Metals has never informed nor consulted the communities on the planned activities. Now farmer organizations, NGO’s, church organizations and other grassroots groups are mounting organized resistance. In 2004 and 2005, thousands of residents engaged in peaceful protests, in which two people were killed and many left wounded as a result of the repression by the police and the mining company’s security forces. National and regional press sides with Monterrico Metals and depicts farmer leaders and critical journalists as drug smugglers and terrorists.

In September 2007, a popular referendum was held in which 95% of the poulation voted against the mining project. Monterrico has already announced though that it won’t take the results into account. Eventually, it’s up to the Peruvian government to decide whether or not the mine will open.

Main partnership goals in Peru are: Majaz Jamás, Majaz get out!

The Rio Blanco project from Monterrico Metals guarantees no sustainability. We oppose mining activities in the ecologically fragile zone, we condemn the human rights violations by Monterrico Metals company, and we will do everything in our power, together with the thousands of farmers in the area, to prevent the Majaz project and the proposed mining district from taking place. We can’t exclude to extent our area of action later on. Given the complexity of efficient support, the information flow, and our current capacity of volunteers, it seems advisable to focus on these two cases. We join forces with local NGOs, and NGOs and networks worldwide.