La Oroya – DRP environmental report update

As a Fullbright scholar, Corey LaPlante studied the environmental impact of the La Oroya – Doe Run Peru (DRP) smelter over the past year or so. He published some summaries of his findings on his blog, including:

  • Research that shows contamination in La Oroya may actually have increased since Doe Run arrived in 1997.
  • Some regulatory background about Peru’s environmental management plan or PAMA. Excellent questions whether PAMA is really sufficient and whether Doe Run Peru has complied with its obligations.
  • Research on children’s blood-lead levels near La Oroya. Interesting finding how the improvements advocated by Doe Run correspond with testing further and further away from the smelter.

I think Corey did a great job studying the environmental impact as well as the social and economic drivers that keep enabling the situation at La Oroya. He kept his research free of inflammatory rhetoric or ideological influences which all too often skew the environmental debate.

Again, check out his findings here.

Work halted at La Oroya

Otto at Inca Kola News has some good analysis on the work stoppage at La Oroya today.

From Reuters:

“Doe Run Peru has halted work at its sprawling La Oroya smelter after banks cut credit lines for the company.”

Also read my previous post about money and La Oroya. It remains to be seen if Alan Garcia’s pro-mining government will step in. Personally, I’m with Otto on this: Ira Rennert took the money and ran.

La Oroya – putting the $ in perspective.

I just read this Reuters release on mining giant BHP Biliton:

“BHP Billiton Ltd/Plc (BLT.L) (BHP.AX) will cut 6,000 jobs and close its giant Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Australia, writing off $1.6 billion, as the global resources giant battles a collapse in commodity prices. …”

Much has been written about the environmental situation in the Peruvian town of La Oroya, since it was featured in an episode of CNN’s “Planet in Peril” a few weeks ago. This news release simply illustrates that the money involved to clean up, move or close the Doe Run smelter in La Oroya is just not that big an issue. Mining is a huge industry, and if BHP Biliton is willing to kiss $1.6 billion goodbye just because the economy is slowing, Doe Run and the Peruvian government darn well ought to pony up the money to fix, move or close the smelter at La Oroya.

Read an interesting comment about Doe Run’s history in the US at

Ward Welvaert

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).