Mining Disputes in Peru Define President Humala’s First Year in Office

July 31, 2012

Mining is one of the most pressing political issues in many Latin American countries, from Guatemala, to El Salvador, to Peru. In each country, mining can almost always be traced to governmental corruption. Peru is no exception. BBC News reports that, whereas President Ollanta Humala campaigned on the promise the elimination of poverty and social exclusion, very little has changed since his initiation into the presidency. Many people in Peru feel betrayed by Humala in regards to the Conga mining project which is “led by US giant Newmont,” and “insists that work will be carried out in an environmentally sensitive way, with artificial reservoirs providing the necessary water.” Critics of the project “fear the mine will permanently destroy the water basins on which the mostly dairy and agricultural region depends,” according to BBC News. Though going through with the Conga project would create jobs in the Cajamarca region, it is unclear to what extent the creation of these jobs would counter the potentially devastating environmental effects of the mine. If mining can be regulated and the Peruvian laws respected, then the Conga project may prove economically beneficial. If the mining situations in other Latin American countries are any indication however, North American mining corporations value money over respect. Regardless, this dispute seems to be far from over.