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Andean Region: New study shows almost “perfect correlation” between violent social conflicts and new mining projects

Author: Mario Pérez-Rincón and Nick Meynen at InterContinental Cry, Published on: 15 January 2018

Academic research confirms: more mining leads to more fighting” - January 15, 2018

Mining conflicts are not uncommon in Latin America, but the Andes now resembles a war zone. In Peru – the world’s number-two producer of copper, zinc and silver – many peasant groups are revolting…As it’s mining export grows, so does it’s number of mining conflicts…Clashes between demonstrators and the authorities between 2015 and 2016 left four dead following the opening of the Las Bambas mine...[part of MMG, part of China Minmetals] displaced thousands of people…But Peru is just one hotspot. A recent study ‘did the math’ on the link between growth in mining exports and growth in environmental conflicts across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

The correlation is almost perfect, thereby debunking the carefully crafted myths around new and better corporate social responsibility and sustainable mining. The study was based on Environmental Justice Atlas data from 244 environmental conflicts…The El Cerrejon mine [joint venture of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore] in Colombia is also one of them. The Colombian Government left the structure completely in the hands of foreign capital – not only with regards to its administrative, structural and financial aspects, but also including rights on all the territory that such exploitation embraced…Entire populations of indigenous peoples and farmers were forcibly displaced. Polluting the only available water sources was just part of a strategy to make the remaining communities move away when investors wanted to expand the mine. With billions of dollars at stake, anything goes.

The Environmental Justice Atlas data shows that for the Andean countries, only 28 environmental conflicts started before 1990, 45 started in the 1990s and a distressing 171 started since the turn of the millennium.

Read the full post here

Related companies: Anglo American BHP Billiton Cerrejón Coal (joint venture Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Glencore) China Minmetals Glencore Las Bambas (part of MMG) Minerals and Metals Group (MMG) (part of China Minmetals)