Tia Maria update: the dispute widens
03 August 2019
Last week the president talked enthusiastically of how much would be achieved in a week of harmony and effort at dialogue for Tía María. Now reality is hitting.
The recurso, the petition made by Arequipa regional president Elmer Cáceres demanding the cancellation of the construction permit which helped trigger the present tension, is a mechanism with formal provision on procedures: the recurso has been referred to the Consejo de Minería which will hold an oral hearing and then will, within a further 15 days, pronounce a verdict.
Meanwhile, a general and indefinite strike across the southern region is planned to begin this Monday, 5 August. Local actors, including the presidents of two major associations of irrigation users, urged President Vizcarra to resolve the issue of the construction permit as promised within a week to halt the strike; but that week is now up as we go to press.
At the same time, the Comando de Lucha for the defence of the Tambo valley (the focal point of the impact of the mine) has convened a general assembly of the macro region for 3 August to consider the planned indefinite strike and the environmental issues at stake. (The 'macro' region was afforded constitutional recognition in July 2016, and comprises the regions of Arequipa, Apurímac, Cusco, Madre de Dios, Moquegua, Puno and Tacna.)
A further issue raised over the last week is the president’s promise to reform of the country’s Mining Law. Predictably, opposition is mounting. The director of the national mining association, the SNMPE, Pablo de la Flor, explained in interview with BNAmericas that while there is much that does need updating in the current legislation, the mining sector is opposed to the lead being taken by regional governors. “Some of the approaches that have arisen from the regional governments in the south are contrary to the development of the industry”, de la Flor is quoted as saying.