Afrodita's Mining Operations Suspended 'Indefinitely'
31 March 2010
The Peruvian government suspended mining company Afrodita’s explorations activities in the northern Amazon region in mid-February after the firm was unable to prove its ownership of concession rights, the Ministry of Mining and Energy said in an official statement.
Mining and Energy Regulatory Agency (OSINERGMIN) stated that consent for the small copper and gold mining company to operate in the rainforest will remain suspended until it provides the necessary paperwork to prove its ownership of the concession.
Guillermo Shinno from OSINERGMIN said that Afrodita could continue operating once it obtained the necessary permit. He also clarified that "OSINERGMIN has not brought the company's exploration activities to a halt; it merely sent the firm an official letter indicating that it cannot engage in such activities without a land-use permit".
Afrodita claims to have all the exploration authorisation papers in order, which it says were obtained in December last year. The company also maintains that it held a public assembly in the village of Santa María de Nieva, where it asserts that the local population participated and agreed with the exploration process.
OSINERGMIN clarified that what Afrodita was granted at the end of last year was the approval of an impact study for the mining project. However, to start the exploration process it is mandatory to prove that it has ownership of the land. At present, the land is owned by indigenous communities, and in order to recommence exploration activity Afrodita must get a permit granted by at least two-thirds of the local community.