Copper mine Quellaveco on the Asana river, Peru

A four year mega-project for the diversion of the Asana river is about to start. The agreement reached in 2012 hasn't appeased concerns for the mining detrimental consequences.


The Quellaveco Company envisaged the diversion of the Asana river, one of the Moqueguas largest tributaries, in order to dispose waste from its mining operations, causing contamination of aquifers and land. Resident farmers opposed the project, refused to sell their land to the company and demanded respect for their rights.

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Basic Data
NameCopper mine Quellaveco on the Asana river, Peru
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Mineral ore exploration
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific Commoditiesmolybdenum
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Details"The Quellaveco Project is operated by Minera Quellaveco S.A.(MQSA). Majority ownership of MQSA is held by Santiago-based Mantos Blancos, 80%, with 20% held by the International Finance Corp., the arm of the World Bank that invests in private / commercial sector projects. Mantos Blancos is a holding of the South African mining company Anglo American" [4].

The company has already started the construction of primary conditionning works, among which the tunnel for the diversion of the Asana river which "consists of the main, 7.8km long water tunnel with a 1.2km long access tunnel and a 4km long conveyor tunnel". [1]

Once operating, the mine would lead to the production of 225,000 tonnes per year of copper and other minerals over a lifespan of at least 32 years [2].
Level of Investment (in USD)
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1992
Company Names or State EnterprisesSouthern Peru Copper Corporation (SPPC) from Mexico - part of Grupo Mexico
Anglo American from United Kingdom - Quellaveco Company was a consortium of Anglo-American Company of South Africa and International Finance Corporation of the World Bank
Minera Quellaveco S. A.
Mitsubishi heavy industries from Japan
Mantos Blancos - owns 80% of Minera Quellaveco S.A.
Relevant government actorsInstituto Nacional de Desarrollo (INADE), Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales (INRENA), Ministerio de Energía y Minas (MINEM), Regional Government of Moquegua
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman of IFC (CAO)
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) - hydrological assessment of the open-pit copper mine project between February and June 2013
United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) - revision of the hydrological assessment of the project
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFriends of the Earth International (FOEI), Global Green Grant - USA, Accion Civil Labor - Peru, CONACAMI - Peru, Frente de Defensa de los Intereses de Moquegua
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Forms of MobilizationOfficial complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesGive priority to the agriculture and food production activities as a reliable and sustainable source of livelihood for the local population.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Despite the protests and intentions of negotiations held, the mining project continues operating without any consideration to the local population.
Sources and Materials

[4] The Quellaveco Mine: Free Water for Mining in Peru's Driest Desert? Robert E. Moran, Ph.D. 2002
[click to view]

Quellaveco copper mine. FOEI. 2005

Hacia una Estimacion de los Efectos de la Actividad Minera en los Indices de Pobreza en el Per. Torres Victor. 2005.
[click to view]

Minera y Comunidades Testimonios Orales y Grficos. Cooperaccin. 2000

The Quellaveco Mine: Free Water for Mining in Peru’s Driest Desert? An environmental impact assessment, R. E. Moran, March 2002
[click to view]

Anglo – american plc: financing the summit, plundering the earth, Friends of the Earth International, 2002
[click to view]

Ombudsman Assessment Report, CAO, July 2012
[click to view]


Transnacionales mineras y ecocidio en el Peru, J. Lora Cam
[click to view]

Anglo American drops Peru copper project, C. Jamasmie, April 2015
[click to view]

[1] The Quellaveco Project: Copper Extraction in one of the World’s largest Mining Areas, DSI
[click to view]

Quellaveco, BN Americas
[click to view]

[2] Water justice for all global and local resistance to the control and commodification of water, Friends of the Earth, January 2003
[click to view]

Revision del estudio hydrogeologico, El express informativo de Monquegua, 19/05/2013
[click to view]

[3] Perú: Proyecto Quellaveco, UNOPS
[click to view]

Dirigentes de Moquegua se oponen a proyecto Quellaveco, el Comercio Peru, 26/08/2015
[click to view]

Así se forjó el acuerdo de Moquegua con el proyecto minero Quellaveco, La Republica, 10/08/2012
[click to view]

Agricultores marcharon en rechazo de la actividad minera en Moquegua. Con memorial pidieron la cancelación del proyecto minero Quellaveco., Correo, 24/09/2015
[click to view]

Other Documents

Diario Correo, Peru
[click to view]

Asana river, where the open-pit mine is planned Water Justice Report, Friends of the Earth, January 2003
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update08/01/2016