Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gold rush in Peru

Farmers & local residents in Mamacocha Lagoon, Peru, are protesting the $4.8 billion Conga gold & silver mining project, considered to be the largest mining investment in the history of Peru & the second largest gold mine in the world. It is a joint venture between a Peruvian company, the World Bank (which provided $150 million in development loans), & Newmont Mining, a US corporation. Newmont is the majority owner; it is also the second largest gold mining company in the world. So there’s a lot of money & global power tied up in this operation. There’s been some wrangling among government officials about the environmental impact of the mine but it has granted all permits & concessions. Thousands of residents have faced tear gas & police violence in opposing the project. Late last year, expansion plans for the mine were suspended due to the opposition but residents continued to pressure the Peruvian government to renounce & permanently cancel it. Residents claim--with the weight of overwhelming evidence from gold mining around the world--that the project will destroy the 20 lagoons which serve as a foundation for local ecosystems, as a source of water for farming irrigation, & as a source of water for human consumption. Gold mining has created environmental havoc all over Africa, Latin America, Australia, & several other places. Scientific data on mercury & cyanide contamination from the reckless practices of multinational mining companies piles a mile high. It takes two ounces of extremely toxic mercury to produce a single ounce of gold. That means tons of mercury (used to separate gold from rock) is used in a single mining operation--spreading the poison & directly threatening the health of miners & local residents. The struggles of farmers & indigenous peoples around the world against these mining multinationals have put them in the leadership of the environmental movement & made them stewards of Mother Earth. You can lend your support by contacting Newmont on FB & voicing your objection to their plunder: or you can contact them by email at:
(Photo by Martin Mejia/AP)

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