This week the Peru Support Group published its report entitled ‘Dialogue and Human Rights in the Mining Sector: Learning from Peru’. Writing the report has been a combined operation between the PSG and Idehpucp, An Institute within the Catholic University specialising in human rights research. The PSG was contracted by the British embassy in Lima to undertake this study.

Through the lens of projects that have involved dialogue between mining companies and communities affected by mining, it seeks to draw some broad conclusions about what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ practice. It focuses on the results of ‘dialogue tables’ (mesas de diálogo) for four mining projects which have proved relatively successful in avoiding outright and violent confrontation.

The mines analysed include two in northern Peru, both in the Cajamarca region, La Granja (a project involving Rio Tinto) and Cerro Corona (a project developed by Gold Fields, a South African-based company; and two in the south, Quellaveco in Moquegua (majority owned by Anglo American) and San Rafael in Puno (developed by Minsur).

The project included research carried out in all four of these mine regions as well as information from literature studies on other mines. The results are presented in a relatively short and synthetic report (32 pages). This can be downloaded in both English and Spanish here.

It points to the importance of good dialogue to upholding human rights and the centrality of human rights to longer-term sustainable development. As well as presenting the results of the four case studies (each quite different from one another), it highlights the importance of contextual (geographical and historical) factors to the success (or otherwise) of successful dialogue. It also examines in depth the roles played by different stakeholders in the outcome of such dialogue: the companies, the communities, state agencies of different kinds, and civil society organisations such as NGOs.

A Spanish-language version of the report is being presented this week in Lima (25 March) at the Rimay, an organisation promoted by the mining ministry to encourage good practice among mining companies. It will also be presented in Cuzco on 26 March) at an assembly organised by the Centro Bartolomé de Las Casas (CBC), an agency dedicated to the promotion of Andean culture and development. A part of the project will be translated into Quechua for distribution among communities.