Mining and environmental protections in Peru

CNN recently featured the “La Oroya” case on its “Planet in Peril” series. Mining (“la mineria”) is quite controversial here in Peru, being one of the country’s largest industries but also one with a mixed environmental record. I’m seeing some local opposition to the environmental impact of mining, for example we noticed this sign on the way to Accha:

A roadside sign opposing mining near Sangarara, Peru.

A roadside sign opposing mining near Sangarara, Peru.

One thing I hope for is that when taxpayer money is soon handed out to the US auto industry there are strings attached in terms of environmental protection (the metals processed at “La Oroya” are used in industries such as auto manufacturing).

8 thoughts on “Mining and environmental protections in Peru

  1. My sister in law is from Cajamarca and her village is trying to keep the mines out.

    She complains about the pollution it is causing there and says that Alan Garcia is really disconnected from the people. He’s all for the mines.

    The mines have offered them money in exchange for buying up their lands, but she says it’s not about the money – It’s about the emotional attachment and memories they have to their homes and that’s something money can’t replace.

    I saw a portion of the CNN feature and it is really appalling what is happening there.

    It’s amazing, however, because looking at the sky and the landscape of La Oroya in pictures and one would have no clue about the level of destruction and adverse health affects that are occurring there. – The skies are so blue in the photos.

    Nothing is done, because there are no regulations and the mining industry is a major force and contributor to the Peruvian economy. I guess for the Peruvian government it’d be like killing the golden goose.

  2. Well Rachel, according to Alan Garcia, people like your sister-in-law are traitors and backwards minded. She is dragging down Peru.
    His words, not mine.

    He said clearly about a year ago that the rainforest is there to be cut down, the mountains there to be mined, and that anyone who protests oil or mining companies, including indigenous groups, are traitors. These are resources are to be used by “all peruanos” i.e. all city dwellers, and “backwards people” need to move to the cities and get jobs.

    This is his plan to turn Peru into a first world country and reduce poverty.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I agree that the government in Lima appears entirely out-of-touch with the people in the provinces, the remote Andes mountain and Amazon jungle regions of Peru.

    Having a chance to live here in Cusco for some time now, I can’t imagine how the establishment in Lima could not care more about the fantastic resources of this country. A Peruvian columnist once wrote “Peru is a poor country because Peruvians act like poor people”, this certainly seems to be the case for politicians.

  4. Pingback: An American Expat's Reaction to CNN's Planet in Peril: Battle Lines, Toxic La Oroya Plant | An American in Lima

  5. “I agree that the government in Lima appears entirely out-of-touch with the people in the provinces, the remote Andes mountain and Amazon jungle regions of Peru”

    …you can say that again.

    I like the way you tied this to the Auto Industry, Ward. Nice touch.

    Hope you’ve been well…


  6. Pingback: If you enjoy living in Latin America… Thank Ambassador Bob White. « Life in Peru

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