Anglo American backs out

10 December 2014

The giant Anglo American mining corporation, the world’s fourth largest, announced last week that it is withdrawing from the Michiquillay copper project in Cajamarca. Like the nearby Conga project belonging to Yanacocha (majority owned by Newmont), Michiquillay has confronted serious local political opposition over the contamination of water supplies. Anglo American’s decision appears to have been taken in order to rationalise its activities worldwide. It has been hard hit by the decline in the prices of key minerals in the last two years. The US$200,000 social fund created by Anglo American designed to benefit local communities will be handed over the government. However, Anglo American also announced that it plans to continue with the development of the Quellaveco project in Moquegua which has also provoked local opposition. The company has spent large sums there trying to convince local people of the benefits that the mine will bring. Anglo American first publically voiced its doubts about Michiquillay in April. It is thought to have represented an investment of US$1.1 billion, whereas the much bigger investment at Quellaveco is valued at US$3.3 billion.

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