Peru: Water Tribunal indicts Conga project

On Nov. 9, the Costa Rica-based Latin American Water Tribunal, an oversight body on environmental justice formed by jurists and specialists from across the hemisphere in 1998, issued a judgment calling on Peru to cancel the controversial Conga mining project in northern Cajamarca region, finding numerous irregularities in its approval. The ruling, issued in a public hearing in Buenos Aires, questioned the objectivity of Peru’s Environment Ministry (MINAM) and Naitonal Water Authority (ANA) in the case; condemned the criminalization and repression of social movements in Cajamarca; and called upon Peru to uphold access to water as an internationally recognized human right. (Celendín Libre, GRUFIDES, Nov. 9)

On Nov. 8, Yanacocha, the company that seeks to develop the Conga project, was fined 466,287 soles (about $180,000) by Peru’s  Environmental Evaluation and Control Organism (OEFA) for violating terms of the environmental impact study (EIS) under which the project was approved. The company was charged with installing an exploration platform within 50 feet of a bofedal (alpine wetland), in violation of terms under which the EIS was conducted. The company agreed to pay the fine, but denied having inflicted any environmental damage. (El Comercio via Celendin Libre, Gestión, RPP, Perú21, Nov. 8)

The campesino vigilance patrol known as the Guardians of the Lagunas continue to monitor activities at the Conga concession bloc from an encampment they have established near the site. A delegation of some 100 campesinos from the provinces of Celendín and Bambamarca are to arrive in Lima this week, where they plan to establish an ongoing public vigil in the fashionable Miraflores district to demand that the Conga project be cancelled and build support for their movement in the capital. (Mi Bambamarca, Nov. 10)