Rio Blanco Mine Majaz/Rio Blanco Copper S. A., Peru

A copper mine in Piura, owned by British and later Chinese firms. Court case in London, and local successful referendum in 2007 against the project.

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">In 2001 Minera Majaz S. A., a subsidiary of the English company Monterrico Metals, obtained eight concessions in the North of Peru, including the 6,472 hectares Rio Blanco mine for the exploitation of copper and molybdenum. Thousands of farmers, local community representatives, Mayors, provincial administrators together with social and environmental organisations opposed the project, demanding the cancellation of environmental certification granted to Minera Majaz S. A. for exploratory operations. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">The Monterrico company was involved in violence and torture against local peasants, a court case took place in London. The final settlement of the legal case by July 2011 didn’t recognize Monterrico liability but it had to repay compensations to the 33 Peruvian farmers who pursued the charges. <br/><br/>Rio Blanco Copper S.A., which now owns the mine, has shown its interest to start the exploitation of the mine, situation which raised again the inhabitants’ concerns.<br/><br/>Women from both Peru and Ecuador denounce together mining activities of Rio Blanco Copper S.A. on their lands, threatening their lands’ fertility and traditional livelihood. During a gathering in November 2014 they highlighted the fact that although the company didn’t start the exploitation of the mine in Rio Blanco, the prior preparation are already affecting their communities.<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Rio Blanco Mine Majaz/Rio Blanco Copper S. A., Peru</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/peru">Peru</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Piura and Cajamarca</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Huancabamba, Ayabaca / San Ignacio</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Mineral ore exploration</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/copper'>Copper</a><br /><a href='/commodity/rare-metals'>Rare metals</a><br />Molybdenum</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">The project extends over more than 6.000 hectars. At planned production rates, Rio Blanco would be amongst the 20 largest copper mines in the world, producing on average of 191,000 tonnes of copper per annum and 2,180 tonnes of molybdenum per annum during the first five years. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">On 27 April 2007, a Chinese consortium, Xiamen Zijin Tongguan Development Co. Ltd (the Zijin Consortium) acquired a majority shareholding (89.9%) of Monterrico. <br/><br/>Rio Blanco Copper S. A., which today officially owns the mine is itself owned by both the British Monterrico Metals and the Chinese Zijin Mining Group. <br/><br/>The project includes 25 km of new roads and electrical networks, as well as a port at Bayovar on the Pacific coast. <br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>6,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>1440000000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>25,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>2002</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/majaz-sa-mine'>Majaz S.A. Mine</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/peru'><small>Peru</small></a><br /><a href='/company/monterrico-metals-plc'>Monterrico Metals plc</a><br /><a href='/company/zijin-consortium'>Zijin Consortium (Xiamen Zijin Tongguan Investment Development)</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/china'><small>China</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Municipality of Huacabamba - Peru, Municipality of Sndor - Peru, MEM - Peru, Ombudsman - Peru, PNP - Peru</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>CONACAMI - Peru, FDSFNP - Peru, Rondas Campesinas, Farming Communities of Segunda and Cajas - Peru, Asociación de Mujeres Protectoras de los Páramos AMUPPA, Provincial Federation of peasant vigilantes of Huancabamba - Peru, Front for the Defence of Life and Environment of Huancabamba - Peru, CEPICAFE - Peru, Professors Association of Huancabamba - Peru, Frente por el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Frontera Norte del Perú (FDSFNP), Oxfam America</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> International ejos<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Social movements</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Referendum other local consultations<br /> Street protest/marches<br /> Strikes</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Proposed (exploration phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Negotiated alternative solution<br /> New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study<br /> Criminalization of activists<br /> Repression<br /> Deaths<br /> Strengthening of participation<br /> Project temporarily suspended<br /> Withdrawal of company/investment<br /> Court decision (victory for environmental justice)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>More than 90 percent of farmers opposed the Majaz Rio Blanco project and asked the Government to respect their decision. The census was over 17,000 people in the districts of Ayabaca, Pacaipampa, and Carmen de la Frontera in Piura, they voted overwhelmingly September 16, 2007, to reject investment in the nearby Majaz copper mine of the Rio Blanco project.<br/><br/>July 28, 2011 Monterrico Metals Plc., a British company that owns Ro Blanco Copper S.A., previously known as Minera Majaz S.A., agreed to compensate 32 farmers tortured at the mining camp and the relatives of a farmer who died, both of which occurred between August 1 and 3, 2005.<br/><br/>The company agreed to compensate the farmers so that the plaintiffs would put an end to the lawsuit filed in June 2009 with the British High Court against Monterrico Metals Plc., in its capacity as parent company of Rio Blanco Copper S.A.<br/><br/>In 2012, a new lawsuit against the Peruvian Police for torture against peasants in the same 2005 case, has started.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Yes</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>In 2012, Rio Blanco S.A. company was trying to start exploitation, while the Frente por el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Frontera Norte del Per FDSFNP, of municipalities, districts, communities and Rondas Campesinas and other organizations of the provinces of Huancabamba and Ayabaca (Piura) and provinces of San Ignacio and Jaen (Cajamarca)opposed the project. The Monterrico company was brought to court in London for tortures to local peasant, and had to pay for damages. A successful local referendum against the project took place.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> ILO - OIT (International Labour Organisation) Convention 169<br/></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Hacia una Estimacion de los Efectos de la Actividad Minera en los Indices de Pobreza en el Peru. Torres C., Victor ; De Echave C., Jose. Ed. Cooperaccion 2005.<br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Rondas campesinas de mujeres, participacion social y politica, y problematica ambiental en Bambamarca. Chacon Raul. 2005<br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Mineria y Comunidades Testimonios Orales y Graficos. Cooperaccion. 2000.<br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> INFORME DE CONFLICTOS MINEROS : los casos de Majaz, las Bambas, Tintaya y la Oroya. Cooperaccion 2006.<br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> CONSULTA VECINAL SOBRE MINERIA EN LA SIERRA DE PIURA: CONTRA VIENTO Y MAREA, GANÓ LA DEMOCRACIA PARA EL BIEN DE TODOS , OLCA report 2007, with statistics on number of residents and voters in the local referendum<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> AMBIENTE-PERÚ: Estudio advierte daño causado por minera Majaz, M. Salazar, 9/10/2007<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Proyecto minero Río Blanco: una bomba de tiempo en la frontera norte, 31/08/2014<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Peruvian torture claimants compensated by UK mining company, 20/07/2011<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Abuse claims against Peru police guarding British firm Monterrico, I. Cobain, 18/10/2009<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Resoluciones del encuentro de mujeres en resistencia a los proyectos mineros en Rio Blanco en Peru y Ecuador, 7/12/2014<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Caso Majaz: Absuelven a 107 personas acusadas falsamente de diversos delitos, 7/06/2012<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Secuestro, asesinato y tortura en el campamento del proyecto Majaz (ahora Río Blanco), 30/07/2005<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Majaz Proyecto Rio Blanco, youtube video<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Ecuadorian and Peruvian women's gathering in December 2014 opposing the Rio Blanco mine</strong> Source:<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Police repression and torture of pacific farmers marching to the Rio Blanco mining</strong> Source: Fedepaz<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Lucie Greyl & Joan Martinez Alier</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>30/12/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>