Peru protests at huge Conga gold mine in Cajamarca
Thousands of people in northern Peru have protested against plans for a huge open-cast goldmine in the high Andes.
People in the Cajamarca region say the proposed Conga mine will cause pollution and destroy water supplies.
The US-based mining company Newmont has promised modern reservoirs to replace threatened mountain lakes.
The dispute is a test for President Ollanta Humala, who has promised to continue mining development while protecting affected communities.
Mining is the main engine of Peru’s booming economy, but it is also the cause of numerous social conflicts around the country.
The $4.8bn (£3.1bn) Conga project would be the biggest mining investment in the country’s history.
On foot and on horseback, rural protesters climbed to four high mountain lakes whose waters would be moved to make way for the gold mine.
There were also protests in the regional capital, Cajamarca, 160km (100 miles) away, where schools and businesses closed and buses stopped running.
Cajamarca is one of the major cities in the north of Peru. It is not as grand as the cities in the south as many of the northern cities aren’t, but it’s what the people have.
.The country people live a simple life, basically subsistence farming in areas like this, but that is about to change.
The plans for the new Conga goldmine will devastate the region. Displacing people, poisoning the land, polluting the water with heavy metals and it will not be long before it reduces the area to an arid moonscape like this.
The new government has promised more share of the profits from mining for people in the region. They don’t want profits, they want their lives left intact.
The company has promised reservoirs to replace the natural mountain lakes, the people don’t want reservoirs, they want the natural pure water, just the way it is and always has been.
These people are not interested in mining being the ‘main engine’ of Peru’s booming economy. They don’t see it, they never will see the booming economy. The booming economy is only for the city dwellers, the rich, Peru’s 1%.
Like countries all over the world, the government plunder the land of the poor to enrich the rich. They ignore the people, steal what little the people have, they don’t care as long as the coffers are filled.