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Glencore in Tintaya copper mine in Espinar, Perú

Militarization, abuses of human rights, police repression to the protesting communities and massive contamination of heavy metals in the soil and in the bodies of peoples and animals.


In the province of Espinar (Cuzco), where Glencore operates in the mining complexes of Tintaya (the mine is in the process of its closure), Antapaccay (which started its production in 2012) and Coroccohuayco (in exploration) [1], there have been complaints and lawsuits from the local communities regarding the pollution, which endangers their health and that of their animals [2]. There are two central aspects in the actions of the Peruvian State and the mining company: violations of the human rights of the communities that live around the mining complexes and the environmental contamination generated in the area. The case tackles both aspects, noting that the Peruvian government has taken position in the conflict in favor of the mining company, facilitating the presence of police forces to hold down the protestors and not recognizing the existing contamination.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Glencore in Tintaya copper mine in Espinar, Perú
State or province:Cusco province
(municipality or city/town)Espinar
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
Tailings from mines
Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Copper
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Tintaya is an open-pit mine, functioning since 1985 and controlled by Xstrata since 2006, who later merged with Glencore. Given that it is about to run out of reserves, the production area is growing with the new complexes of Coroccohuayco and Antapaccay, close to the original site. Antapaccay initiated its operation in November 2012. Currently, its production consists of 80,000 tons per day. Its reserves surpass the billion tons of 0.49 % copper with an estimated service life of two decades.

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Project area:10,403.37
Level of Investment:1470000000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:6 comunidades, un promedio de 1200 personas
Start of the conflict:1990
Company names or state enterprises:Glencore International AG from Switzerland
Compañía Minera Antapaccay from Peru
Relevant government actors:Consejo Nacional del Ambiente CONAM, Municipio de Espinar , Oficina de Gestión de Conflictos, Gobierno de Perú, autoridades del Municipio y de la Provincia de Espinar y de la Región de Cuzco
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Red Sombra: Observadores de Glencore, Frente de Defensa de la Provincia de Espinar, MultiWatch - Suiza, Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras, Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Red Muqui, Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power, Popular Peoples Tribunal
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Presentation to the case to the Permanent Peoples Tribunal
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Air pollution, Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:El nivel del conflicto en la zona muestra brotes de violencia cada cierto tiempo. No se ven muestras claras de favorecer las demandas de los afectados.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Convenio 169 de la OIT
[click to view]

Convenio Marco 2007, suscrito entre la provincia de Espinar y la empresa Xstrata

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Minería y conflicto social (De Echave, J, Díez, A. et al, Eds), IEP, pp. 255-147.
[click to view]

Oxfam - Mesa de Dialogo
[click to view]

[2] De Boissière, P., Cabello, J., McDonagh, T., Orellana, A., Shultz, J., Sabido, P., Tansey, R. (2014). Conquistadores corporativos: las diferentes formas en que las multinacionales generan y se benefician de la crisis climática. TNI, CEO y The Democracy Center
[click to view]

[9] Vargas, M. (2015) Glencore y la minería peruana: evadiendo responsabilidades (documento en proceso de edición)

Corporate Conquistadores report, by TNI, Corporate Europe, Democracy Centre
[click to view]

Borda, J. (2013). Espinar y la minería: entre movilizaciones, proceso de diálogo y lecciones de resistencia social. En: Hoetmer, R., Castro, M., Daza, M., De Echave, J., y Ruiza, C. Minería y movimientos sociales en el Perú. Lima: PDTG, Cooperacción, Acsur las Segovias y Entrepueblos.

Déclaration de Berne (2012). Swiss Trading S.A. La Suisse, le négoce et la malédiction des matières premières. Lausanne: Éditions d’En bas
[click to view]

Maquet, P. (2013). Mitos y realidades de la minería en el Perú: Guía para desmontar el imaginario extractivista. Lima: PDTG
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

No A La Mina - Dos muertos en protestas contra minera; declaran estado de emergencia, Mayo 2012
[click to view]

Global Voices - Perú: El conflicto entre la comunidad de Espinar y la minera Xstrata Tintaya
[click to view]

La Republica
[click to view]

Peru: Police Abuse in the Pay of Mining Companies
[click to view]

Xstrata Copper Peru
[click to view]

[16] Database from WTO
[click to view]

Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power

Glencore, Operaciones Peru
[click to view]

[1] MultiWatch (Editor) - Miles de Milliones Ganados con las Materias Primas
[click to view]

[3] Copper
[click to view]

[5] Multiwatch (2014), pp. 43-45
[click to view]

[6] La Republica - Ocultaron a comuneros de Espinar que tienen 11 metales en el cuerpo
[click to view]

[4] Observadores Glencore
[click to view]

[8] Glencore (2015b). Glencore’s response to the ‘Corporate Conquistadors’ report
[click to view]

[10] Bilaterals website
[click to view]

[11] Official EU website on TISA
[click to view]

[12] Bilateral Investment Treaties, Peru
[click to view]

[13] Tratado Peru-Suiza
[click to view]

[14] Tratado Peru- Reino Unido
[click to view]

[15] All cases are available in the World Bank website
[click to view]

Testimony of the case in the Permanent Peoples Tribunal Hearing - Corporate Human Rights Violations and Peoples Access to Justice. Geneva, 23 June 2014
[click to view]

[click to view]

Mercopress - Mining conflict in Peru escalates and will force Humala to take sides
[click to view]

New Internationalist - Who's the ugliest?
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[click to view]

Observadores Glencore-Xstrata - Conflicto entre la población de Espinar y la empresa Xstrata Tintaya, en mayo 2012
[click to view]

Other documents

Peru, May 2012 Source: A police officer takes aim at an indigenous woman protesting GX's Tintaya mine in Espinar, Peru, May 2012. Miguel Gutierrez -
[click to view]

Army at Tintaya mine Source:
[click to view]

Other comments:Impactos Especificos sobre Mujeres: Las afectaciones concretas a las mujeres por estas actividades extractivan radican principalmente a partir de los efectos nocivos en la salud, ya que además de presentar a las enfermedades, son las mujeres quienes tienen que hacerse cargo del cuidado de las familas.

Como administradoras de los hogares se ven obligadas a llevar a cabo un doble esfuerzo para mantener sus dinámicas relacionadas a las plantas, los animales y el acceso al agua. A continuación algunos testimonios que exponen estas situaciones problemáticas:

a. Doña Felícitas Quima, de la comunidad de Alto Huancané: «La salud en mi familia es que todos los señores que viven en esos sectores tienen infinidad de enfermedades, hay muchos que tienen dolor de pies, de cabeza, no pueden cocinarse, se le sacan sus cabellos, los niños cuando se bañan con esa agua empiezan granitos se les sale en su cuerpo. Es triste la realidad».

b. Doña Santusa Ángela Nañahauca de Ccana, de la comunidad de Alto Huancané: «En mi comunidad, en mi sector, hay filtraciones. En donde yo vivo, al ladito de la relavera de Alto Huancané, la relavera de Cancha, y en ahí mis animales se han muerto, totalmente hemos sido pobres. Ya no hay oveja, ya no hay alpaca».

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Contributor:Patricio Chávez, JMA y Talia Waldron
Last update08/03/2017
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