With an eye to the current discussion over a new mining law and this week’s mining conference in Arequipa, Nuevo Perú has produced a document outlining its policy with respect to this sector. The left’s presidential candidate in the 2016 elections, Veronika Mendoza, spoke about priorities in an interview in La República last week.
She denied the suggestion, made by many in the mining industry, that Nuevo Perú is ‘anti-mining’. Rather, she suggests that mining needs to be combined more harmoniously with other productive sectors within a strategy of economic diversification and proper land-use planning.
This means, among other things, a policy of territorial demarcation in which it becomes clearer which areas are off-limits for mining for various reasons. This needs to stem from criteria set down in local, regional and national development plans. Currently, she points out, more or less anywhere can be given in concessions to mining activities. “The is no clarity as to where we’re heading” she says.
She also calls for greater transparency within the sector, particularly with respect to what mining companies pay in taxation. Companies “should say how much they are making, how much they are investing and how much they pay in tax” she says, adding that the system of devolving sales tax should taper off over the duration of a concession.
With respect to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), she argues that companies contract consultancies to carry out EIAs so as to get these approved speedily and without unwelcome opposition rather than because they wish to enhance environmental safeguards. The state should have a role in selecting who should carry out an EIA, she maintains. Also, she argues that the Senace (Servicio Nacional de Certificación Ambiental) system needs to be made more robust.