Reporting on the conflict between the mega mining project Conga and the people of Cajamarca, Peru
“Newmont said in its April annual report that it could reallocate capital from Minas Conga to other projects outside of Peru if it is unable to advance its current development plan.”
By Ryan Dube, April 11, 2013. Source: Fox Business
Antimining protesters vandalized parts of property owned by gold mining company Minera Yanacocha in northern Peru, the company said Thursday, highlighting the challenges the firm continues to face in developing its $5.0 billion Minas Conga copper and gold project.
Yanacocha said about 400 protesters on Wednesday entered part of its property near the El Perol lake in Peru’s Cajamarca region. The company said the protesters burned a container and pipes. It said it evacuated its personnel and removed its machinery for security reasons.
A spokesman from Yanacocha in Cajamarca said the property is part of the concession of Minas Conga. Organizers of the protest were reported as saying by local media that the demonstration was against the development of Minas Conga. Efforts to contact the organizers were not immediately successful.
About 150 protesters continued to occupy the property late Wednesday. A spokesman for Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM), which has a majority stake in Yanacocha, told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday that all of the protesters have now left the property.
Yanacocha is 51.35%-owned by Newmont. Compania de Minas Buenaventura SA (BVN, BUENAVC1.VL) has a 43.65% stake in Yanacocha and the International Finance Corp. holds the rest.
Minas Conga has come under stiff opposition from local politicians and residents, who say they are concerned about its potential impact on the local water supply.
Violent protests last year against Minas Conga resulted in most of the work at the project being put on hold. The company has looked to ease the concerns over the project by building water reservoirs that will increase the supply of water to local populations before it starts mine construction.
Newmont said in its April annual report that it could reallocate capital from Minas Conga to other projects outside of Peru if it is unable to advance its current development plan.
Resolving opposition against Minas Conga has been seen as an important test of the government’s ability to end several other social conflicts in Peru’s key mining sector. Mining companies have lined up investment projects worth $53 billion, but many of those projects have been delayed due to community opposition.
Peru is a major global producer of copper, gold, silver and other minerals.