Reporting on the conflict between the mega mining project Conga and the people of Cajamarca, Peru
I´m visiting the small town of Celendin where the people are fighting for their right to life. Minera Yanacocha, majority owned by US-based Newmont Mining Corporation, wants to destroy four lagoons that are the source of the water supply for the entire Celendin region – to extract the gold and copper that lies beneath.
The devastation that will come from Mina Conga can already been seen in the neighbouring region of Cajamarca; for the past 19 years the same mining company has been operating the largest open pit goldmine in South America, the second largest in the world – Mina Yanacocha. During this time farmers have lost their livelihoods due severe water shortage (the lagoon that used to feed the region is now a dry pit) and the people are dying of cancer from the toxic waste that is pumped into the rivers in place of fresh water. In one particular incident 1,200 Choropamapa villagers were poisoned by a mercury spill. In a direct contradiction to the economic benefits supporters of the mine proclaim, since the mine has been in operation Cajamarca has gone from being the fourth poorest region of the country to the second poorest. The vultures have almost finished devouring all the gold here, and are ready for their next feast – Conga.
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