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Article

Peru: Only one out of 43 locations around Glencore mine has water samples suitable for human consumption, according to studies

CNM/CUT

"Toxic metals studies add to frustrations surrounding Swiss-owned mine in Peru", 12 July 2021

...Over 1,000 kilometres from Peru’s capital, and half a world away from Glencore’s headquarters in Zug, Switzerland, the residents of one of the Andean country’s poorest regions, living near a huge mining complex it owns, are still reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic...By May 2020, after the first case of Covid-19 came to the mountainous district in southeastern Peru, medical services soon became overwhelmed, ahead of subsequent, even more severe waves of infection in early 2021. Lack of clean drinking water, which residents in the district of Espinar have long attributed to the mine, has complicated the side effects of the lockdown...In May, Amnesty International published a study that found that levels of metals and toxic substances in test participants from 11 communities and in water samples taken near the mines presented health risks to the population in the area. The investigation, conducted between 2019 and April of this year, found elevated levels of metals and toxic substances, including arsenic, manganese, cadmium, lead and mercury in blood and urine samples in 78% of trial volunteers...“Antapaccay's operation area of influence includes the Cañipia and Salado Rivers. Both rivers have mineralised water due to the natural presence of minerals in the soil. This has been previously confirmed by the Peruvian authorities, among them the National Water Authority”, Glencore said in emailed responses to SWI swissinfo.ch’s questions...Around the same time that the Amnesty investigation was published, another study conducted by the Health Ministry that monitored water in 13 communities near the mine came to similar conclusions as Amnesty’s, showing the presence of arsenic, as well as other metals in water samples. Only in one of the 43 locations around the mine where water samples were taken did tests indicate that water was suitable for human consumption...Amnesty’s report condemned the Peruvian state for having long failed in its obligation to guarantee the right to health to Indigenous communities near the Antapaccay mine...