Peru: Indigenous tribe affected by mercury poisoning; experts suspect source could be Camisea Gas Project or illegal gold mining

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17 March 2016

“Peru: Mercury poisoning “epidemic” sweeps tribe”

Author: Survival International

Up to 80% of a recently-contacted tribe in Peru have been poisoned with mercury, raising serious concerns for the future of the tribe. One child has already died displaying symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning…The source of the Nahua tribe’s poisoning remains a mystery, but experts suspect Peru’s massive Camisea gas project, which opened up the tribe’s land in the 1980s, may be to blame. The project has recently been expanded further into the Nahua’s territory, prompting fierce opposition from the tribe…Rampant illegal gold mining in the region is another potential source of the mercury poisoning…The Nahua, who live inside a reserve for isolated Indians in south-east Peru, have also been suffering from acute respiratory infections and other health problems since they were contacted…AIDESEP, the main indigenous organization in Peru’s Amazon, is lobbying the government to carry out full health checks on the Nahua and other tribes in the area, and to conduct a proper investigation into the cause of the poisoning. A study was conducted by the Ministry of Health in spring 2015, but the results have yet to be published…

27 February 2016

“10 years of Camisea: The natural gas revolution in Peru”

Author: The Oil & Gas

…While Peru had previously produced large quantities of oil, natural gas had never been considered desirable, and large reserves remained untapped…A new Camisea Consortium was awarded the concession for production, made up of US-based Hunt Oil (35.2 percent), Argentinian Pluspetrol (27.2 percent), South Korea’s SK Corporation (17.6 percent), Algerian company Sonatrach (10 percent) and Argentinian Tecpetrol (10 percent). Repsol later bought a 10 percent share of the consortium from Hunt Oil…Ownership [for transportation] has changed greatly since construction began, and shareholders are currently as follows: Grupo de Energia de Bogota 23.6 percent, Enagás 22.4 percent, Sonatrach 21.2 percent, SK Corporation 11.2 percent, GDF Suez 8 percent, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board 10.4 percent, and Graña y Montero 2.98 percent..[Refers to Export-Import Bank of the United States, Citibank Group, Repsol and China National Petroleum Corporation]…

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