Serious Concerns at the Rio Blanco mine
22 July 2018
The huge copper deposit known as Henry's Hill, close to the border between Peru and Ecuador, is continuing to be a focus of conflict and concern. In 2007 a referendum produced an eloquent result: 97% of the voters against the continuation of the development of the mine. The owners, the British company Monterrico Metals, subsequently sold the rights to the Chinese company Xiamen Zijin. To the intense alarm of the local population, it seemed that in 2016 the company reached an agreement with the government to allow it to begin again to develop the resource, despite the referendum result
The level of distrust in the company is palpable. The campesino assemblies of Segunda y Cajas (Huancabamba) and Yanta (Ayabaca have issued their views. The accusations include the company faking dialogue tables, infiltration of local organisations to generate internal division, and use of benefits in kind to acquire signatures. The assemblies claim Rio Blanco Copper is violating their fundamental rights recognized by Peru's constitution, including the laws on land and on prior consultation.
The Ecumenical Foundation for Development and Peace, FEDEPAZ, is working with the communities.