Peru: indigenous consulta rejects mineral project

On Oct. 1, the indigenous village of San Juan Bautista de CaƱaris in Peru’s northern region of Lambayeque announced the results of a consulta, or community consultation, on the proposed CaƱariaco Norte open-pit copper mine, saying 1,896 members of the pueblo of some 4,000 voted by 95% to reject it. The results were immediately forwarded to the Energy and Mines Ministry (MINEM). Vancouver-based Candente Copper, which hopes to develop the project, issued a statement rejecting the consulta, saying the community had already approved the project in a “general assembly” held on July 8. The statement noted that the “general assembly” has been called for judicial authorities after Cristobal Barrios, the president of the CaƱaris Campesino Community, had refused to convene it. The statement said the “general assembly” had been confirmed as “legally binding” by MINEM, and charged that Barrios had called the consulta “unilaterally” in violation of Peru’s General Law of Campesino Communities (PDF). CaƱaris community representatives, in turn, noted that more residents participated in the consulta than in the “general assembly,” and insisted that the new vote represents the will of the community. (Marketwire Canada, Bloomberg, Oct. 2; El Comercio via Gato EncerradoDiario Correo, Oct. 1)