Sources: Peruvian Observatory of Mining
Conflicts, Human Rights Without Borders – Cusco
Since Monday, about 1,000 community members from the district
of Chamaca in the province of Chumbivilcas, in the southern
region of Cusco, have been
occupying the installation of HudBay Minerals’ Constancia
mine. On Tuesday, the community of Uchuccarco – also in the
district of Chamaca, and one of the communities directly
affected by the Constancia project – joined the protest.
Together, all eleven communities within the district of Chamaca
are participating in this action as part of the Chamaca Defence
Front (FUDICH its initials in Spanish).
On Tuesday, HudBay Minerals issued a
press release announcing that mine operations were
temporarily suspended as a result of the community action,
suggesting that the community members “[had] yet to present
Contrary to HudBay Minerals’ assertions, however, communities
have clearly indicated their discontent with the company’s
failure to follow through on prior commitments and agreements.
According to the
Peruvian Observatory of Mining Conflicts, the district of
Chamaca is seeking renegotiation of a 2013 agreement with
HudBay in order to incorporate an annual social benefit that
would amount to a defined percentage of the company’s profits,
similar to what takes place in the neighbouring province of
Espinar around the Tintaya copper mine. Since 2015, the
municipality of Chamaca and the local population have also been
asking for investment in education and infant malnutrition
projects, which have yet to elicit a concrete response.
Human Rights Without Borders-Cusco
further reports that the 2013 agreement with Chamaca
included infrastructure projects that have not been fully
implemented. As part of this negotiation, district authorities
from Chamaca also requested that a contingency plan be
established to address environmental contamination from the
The community of Uchuccarco, which has its own land use
agreement with the company given that the company requires
community lands to operate the mine, is also protesting lack of
follow through on company commitments, adds Human Rights
It is unclear if or when HudBay will begin to pay taxes on its
income from the mine, as well as whether it might be seeking to
use a mechanism in Peru known as “public works for taxes”,
which lets companies write off supposed social contributions
from future tax payments, essentially putting communities in a
position where they end up negotiating away their own future
income from the mine.
Attempts at talks on Wednesday
were unsuccessful and community members are demanding that
high level company representatives travel to the area to attend
to their concerns, given lack of trust in company personnel
responsible for community relations. So far, there has been no
reports of police repression or violence.
Early this year, in January, thousands from the neighbouring
district of Velille – another of the three districts in the
province of Chumbivilcas, Cusco affected by HudBay Minerals’
Constancia project –
protested over economic, social and environmental issues.
Photo: Human Rights Without Borders – Cusco