Xstrata Tintaya, subsidiary of the Anglo-Swiss commodities giant Glencore Xstrata, has been fined US$84,000 for polluting pastureland around its copper mine in Espinar, Cusco.
The fine was announced by the official tribunal of the Organisation for Environmental Assessment and Regulation (OEFA) at the start of January, after an appeal against its September resolution failed.
Xstrata Tintaya was found responsible for elevated levels of copper in the soil in an area of pasture covering some 1000m2. The company had also failed to report the incident to OEFA and to provide a report on an investigation. Excessive levels of copper can harm biodiversity and poison livestock.
Xstrata Tintaya argued that the copper was naturally occurring and not the result of pollution, but OEFA concluded that the metal had spread from water being pumped through a channel by the miner. The tribunal found that the levels of copper had reached nearly 1800% of the naturally occurring concentration in the area and more than 3000% of the maximum set by international standards.
The dialogue between the company and local communities, established after fatal clashes in 2012 over the mine’s social funding and alleged environmental impact, is due to conclude in March.