The week of 16 September has been given over in Arequipa to PERUMIN 34 – a massive gathering 16-20 September of business and state, with 60,000 expected to attend to visit exhibitions and the numerous presentations. The title of the event is ‘Mining, Science, Innovation, Technology and Education’.

In a press conference, the president of the Organizing Committee of PERUMIN 34, Carlos Gálvez, explained that this year’s event seeks to position mining as an industry that, due to its high technological demand, promotes innovation ventures (startups) applicable to all productive activity, opening professional and business development opportunities for professionals from all over the country. “We want to prove to Peruvians, particularly young people, that the mining industry is not only extracting and exporting minerals. It is a very integrative and complete activity, whose main added value is to generate knowledge and technological innovation for the service of the community “. The key theme has been the splendour of modern technology and the benefits it is bringing to Peru. A second theme has been the size of the ‘mining cluster’ developed around Arequipa and the benefits being generated.

The location, in Arequipa, the very heart of the storm over Tía María, obviously gave the organisers cause for concern. No less than 2000 police have been present to manage security.

The concerns of the populace – and regional government – around Tía María have not been discussed, though the president’s speech on Wednesday came close, when he announced that the resolution needed to create the commission that will consider the reform of the Ley de Minería will be published ‘in the coming days’. True to his mission, he emphasized the need for the commission to find a balance between the need for smooth functioning of investment and the importance of sustainable development of the mining sector in environmental and social terms.

The biggest press coverage seems to have been devoted to absence – the refusal by the regional governor of Arequipa, Elmer Caceras, of his invitation to attend. He argued that the president should be coming there to resolve the matter of Tía María, not to attend PERUMIN 34.