Researchers have confirmed that Peru is in the initial stages of a second energy boom, according to a study published in the Environmental Research Letters Journal last month.
The study claims that Peru will soon hand out concessions covering up to 70% of its Amazon rainforest. Researchers explain that 42 out of a total 52 lots have been awarded in the last four years and most of the energy lots overlap with sensitive areas which may lead to further social conflict.
Co-author of the study and a scientist at the US environmental group Save America’s Forests, Matt Finer, said that almost 90% of the energy concessions in Peru’s Amazon overlap “nature reserves, lands titled to indigenous people or places where tribes living in voluntary isolation are thought to be”.
Finer believes that the recipe for increasing social conflicts is the lack of “law in Peru that ensures (for indigenous communities) their free, prior and informed consent”.
Peru’s economy relies on mining and energy exports to grow. Although the Andean country was one of the few in the region that posted a positive growth in 2009 amid the global crisis, its government faces a tough opposition by indigenous groups upon the development of mining and oil and gas projects.