February 27, 2021

The tension returns to the Peruvian south after the authorization of a large mining project

Tension returned to the Tambo valley and the southern Peruvian region of Arequipa, where authorities and residents are opposed to the Southern Peru company, Grupo México, starting the construction of the Tía María copper mine, whose projected reserves are among the largest in South America.

After Southern reported Tuesday that it had received the government's license for its project, regional and local authorities in Arequipa reiterated their opposition to it, which was halted in 2015 after a violent protest that left four dead, including a policeman, and about 300 injured.

The governor of Arequipa, Elmer Cáceres, assured that "it has not been officially communicated" of the decision of the Executive, but added that it was taken without having "established the mechanism of necessary and fundamental dialogue with the population of the Tambo Valley".

Cáceres called on President Martín Vizcarra to travel "in the next few hours to the area to know the population's position and maintain a dialogue that avoids a social conflict", although he reiterated that "there are no conditions to undertake the Tía María project for the reasons described above. "

The mayors of the districts of the province of Islay, where the valley of the Tambo is located, also met and issued a statement in which they blamed the Government for what might happen during the demonstrations against the work, including the call for a stoppage from next Monday.

The National Assembly of Regional Governments (ANGR) issued, for its part, a statement in which it requested the Executive "to impose dialogue" to resolve the conflict, since it considered that "compliance with the social license is an imperative."

He also expressed his opposition to "the imposition of force" to enforce the government's decision and urged Southern "to participate in dialogue with transparency," and the people of Arequipa to "put the general interest in the solution of social conflicts "

Southern reported Tuesday that it received the license for the work, which will involve an investment of 1,400 million dollars, having met "the requirements set by the rules and lifted all comments made."

The company reiterated, however, that the work will not begin without first generating, in coordination with the Executive, spaces of dialogue to answer the concerns and give the guarantees that the population needs in order to achieve a more favorable social context.

Southern also guaranteed that the project will use desalinated seawater for its operations and an industrial railroad and a "prudent distance from the Tambo Valley" access road will be built to transport its supplies and production.

In this scenario, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Francisco Ísmodes, confirmed on RPP News that the project will not be carried out until the dialogue between the community, the company and the Government is established.

Ísmodes said that the license was delivered "in compliance with the legal requirements and current regulations" and emphasized that the Government "promotes mining activity and investments, but with responsibility for the care of the environment."

On the opposite side, the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy (SNMPE) considered that the decision to grant the Tía María construction license is an "important signal" to reactivate private investment in the country.

According to SNMPE, this project will generate more than 9,000 new formal jobs during its construction and will make contributions of more than 5,000 million soles (1,500 million dollars) per canon and royalties during its 20 years of operation.

Southern points out that the estimated production of Tía María is 120,000 metric tons of copper cathodes per year from the start of operations.

. (tagsToTranslate) tension (t) returns (t) peruano (t) autorizacion (t) proyecto

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