Kori Kollo mine, Bolivia

In spite of decades of local farmers' and inhabitants' mobilization, their claims have been barely satisfied while the pollution provoked by the mine remains problematical.


The residents of Oruro, alongside social organizations like the Centre for Ecology of the Andean people (CEPA), have protested many times against the plans of the Inti Raymi Company, a subsidiary of the multinational Newmont Company and owner of the Kori Kollo mines. Indeed the social conflict started as soon as did the exploitation of the mine in 1983 because the local population was forced to displacement and to sell their lands.

The mine company extracts gold by a process called open pit mining, extremely bad for the environment because of the use of cyanide and the huge amount of water needed. The local communities have never been properly informed about the effects of the materials used, though for years they have asked many times to see technical and environmental management plans from Inti Raymi. Since 1999 the communities presented 1000 complaints for pollution and organized protests and blockades, claiming for an environmental audit on the activities of the mine. The audit was finally carried on in 2009 by PCA Cansultora. Still in 2012 the communities denounced the last report because it was empty of meaningful conclusions and was lacking key information. The population relied on the studies carried on by researchers from the University of Oruro which confirmed the high levels of pollution of the lakes of Popoo and Uru Uru.

Communities in Oruro region kept on struggling for years to get compensation from Empresa Minera Inti Raymi for environmental damage and the use of their ancestral lands. In July 2009, Newmont announced the transfer of its interest in Inti Raymi, owner of the Kori Kollo and Kori Chaca gold mines, to Compania Procesadora de Minerales S.A. - a company controlled by Jose Mercado, a Bolivian partner of Newmont. As Newmont had already left Bolivia, leaving a mess behind, in September 2009 peasants took over the Kori Kollo gold mine demanding compensation for use of their land, as well as for hiring local residents. Since 2015 the mine is decreasing its activity due to the fall in mineral prices. 

Basic Data
NameKori Kollo mine, Bolivia
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsInti Raymi S.A started exploiting Kori Kollo mine in 1983. Kori Kollo mine is 45 km away from Oruro city. The shareholders of Inti Raymi S.A changed over the years.

Newmont becomes the major shareholder in 2001when merging with Batle Mountain Gold Inc. which was holding 85% of the shares since 1993. Zealand Bolivia holds the 12% remaining shares.

Until 2004, Inti Raymi S.A extracted officially 122,633 kg of gold and 382,602 kg of silver.
Project Area (in hectares)7000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date1982
Company Names or State EnterprisesNewmont Mining Corporation from United States of America
Inti Raymi S.A. from Bolivia
Compania Procesadora de Minerales S.A. from Bolivia
Battle Mountain Gold Inc. - Entered the mine capital in1988 by buying 33% of the mine's shares
West World from United States of America - Has held mine's shares in the early 90s
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Water Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, Agriculture and Environment, Government of Oruro, General Direction of Environment Protection
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCentre for Ecology of the Andean people (CEPA) - Bolivia, Coordinadora en Defensa de la Cuenca del río Desaguadero y lagos Uru Uru y Poopó (CORIDUP) - Bolivia, Universidad Técnica de Oruro (UTO), Committee in Defence of Water and Life (Cochabamba), CONACAMI - Peru, Farmers Federation of Oruro - Bolivia, FSUTCO - Bolivia
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Trade unions
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
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, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
New legislation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesThe stop of the mine activity or the decrease of its activity, the restoration of the area in both cases and the respect of the environmental legislation.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The mine activity has not stopped.
Sources and Materials

Mining Code 2006

Decree on the Nationalization of hydrocarbons 2007

Law 1333 on the environment

Presidential Supreme Decree 2281, March 9th 2015


¿Del grito pionero ... al silencio? Las radios sindicales mineras en la Bolivia de hoy, K. Miller, 2006
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Minera. Impactos sociales y ambientales. Movimiento por los bosques, 2004
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Preocupaciones social-ambientales por la mineria en Oruro, Revista Habitat, Diciembre 2009
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Informe de cierre de operaciones Kori Kollo para la prevención de conflictos socio- ambientales, Empresa Minera Inti Raymi, Bolivia, in "Conflictos Mineros: una realidad actual en América Latina y el Caribe"
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Peasants take over Kori Kollo mine, Bolivia, MAC: Mines & Communities, 24/09/2009
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Campesinos toman mina Kori Kollo en Oruro, Bolivia, MAC: Mines & Communities, 24/09/2009
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KORI KOLLO by Colectivo de Coordinacion de acciones socio ambientales
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Fuga e infiltración de cianuro de la mina Kori Kollo provoca contaminación ambiental, OLCA, 22/08/2006
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Culpan a Inti Raymi por contaminar y causar sequía, 31/01/2012
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Comunarios exigen auditorías sobre desastres ocasionados por la mina, 31/01/2012
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La CORIDUP - coordinadora de comunidades afectadas por la contaminacion ambiental, Mayo 2010
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Denuncian que contaminación minera causó muerte y mutación de animales, OLCA, 09/2015
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Auditoría ambiental al proyecto “Kori Kollo”, La Razon, 25/09/2012
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Media Links

Video in Spanish : Los danos de la mineria a cielo abierto Kori Kollo
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Other Documents

Uru Uru Lake, polluted by Kori Kollo mines's wastes blog.geotrek.info/
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Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update03/02/2016