Peruvian farmer Máxima Acuña denounces mining company Newmont in the US for abuse

The Peruvian farmer Máxima Acuña denounced the Newmont mining company in the United States for the alleged abuses committed against her and her family during the litigation they maintain for the ownership of their home, which prevents a multi-million dollar gold mining project from being executed in Peru.

Acuña, winner of the Goldman environmental prize in 2016, went to the US courts after winning a judicial process in 2017 in Peru, where the judges prevented the Minera Yanacocha, owned by the American Newmont and the Peruvian Minas Buenaventura, from evicting the woman under the pretext of having usurped the farm to the company violently.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States because the Peruvian legal framework does not allow Acuña to denounce the company "for the serious human rights violations it has committed against this family under the justification of a dispute over a property," according to said the Group for Training and Intervention for Sustainable Development (Grifides), which carries the legal defense of the peasant.

"Winning a judicial process in Peru against this powerful company has not repaired all the damages and aggressions that it has suffered all these years," the organization said.

According to the peasant's lawyers, the alleged harassment of the company against their property, periodically reported by Acuña, has affected their tranquility, freedom, security and food.

In the United States, Acuña also has the legal support of EarthRigths International, who helped her file this lawsuit in September 2017 after Peruvian authorities failed to protect her from the alleged physical and psychological abuse of security personnel hired by the organization. mining

Acuña's lawsuit was accepted at the second instance in Washington by the Third Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, after a first court did not admit the complaint on the grounds that it should be resolved in Peru, a version that also supported the company.

Thus, the lawsuit must be resolved in the courts of the state of Delaware, where Newmont has its legal domicile but used as an argument the complexity that would be to take the process to this headquarters instead of in Peru.

"Newmont knows better than anyone that Acuña and her family will not get a fair trial in Peru, and that local courts have not guaranteed the rights of the family," said Marissa Vahlsing, an attorney with EarthRights International.

"That is why Newmont insists on sending the case to Peru, and we welcome the decision made by the Court of Appeals ordering the District Court to reconsider the suitability of the Peruvian courts," he added.

Acuña demands that the mining company cease the alleged abuses and demand reparations with the damages caused since this conflict began in 2011.

The disputed property, called Tragadero Grande, has an extension of 24.5 hectares on the shores of Laguna Azul, in the highlands of the Andean region of Cajamarca, which is partially superimposed on the Conga project area, one of the largest mines of gold to open pit of the world that the company plans to exploit.

Conga, with an expected investment of 4.800 million dollars, contemplates the drainage of four lagoons that are in basin headwaters, two of them to extract gold and the other two to pour toxic waste.

The project has been paralyzed since 2012, after the protests against the mine caused five deaths, but Yanacocha maintains its intention to execute it soon.


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