Peru: disputes over household resettlement of Toromocho copper mine project are unresolved

Author: Gonzalo Torrico, Chinadialogue , Published on: 31 January 2019

"The Chinese mining giant and the ghost town"

Mining giant Chinalco, which operates the Toromocho Project in Peru, built a town to resettle the population of Morococha to enable the extraction of copper from beneath the ground where some 5,000 people once lived. The move was celebrated as a triumph in community relations, but six years on the new settlement has no economic future and is fast becoming a ghost town.

…[T]he demands of the last inhabitants of Old Morococha – 65 families who resist resettlement – hang frozen in the air. …For the past six years, they have been living with the tremors, dust and noise of detonations at the Toromocho mine[.] …Chinalco has tried to negotiate a deal with the remaining residents, who are adamant they won’t accept the same conditions the transnational company offered their former neighbours. …The company did not recognise the residents’ right of land ownership at the time of their purchase offer[.] 

…According to a 2018 study by the Peruvian National University of the Centre (UNPC), 80.6% of the inhabitants of New Morococha think that their economic situation was better in the old city….Many of those now leaving the new town are women. …Worse, there are emerging signs of contamination from the mine. …[T]he Ministry of Health diagnosed 27 children under the age of 12 years with lead poisoning. Nor is it the first time. In 2014, Chinalco was cited by the Environmental Assessment and Control Agency (OEFA) for water misuse and had to temporarily suspend mining operations.

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Related companies: China Aluminium Corporation (Chinalco)