Author: Barry Sergeant (Mineweb)
JOHANNESBURG - 5 May 2009 - The world's 100 biggest miners, by value, have gained USD 596bn in aggregate from trough levels seen late in 2008, during the immediate aftermath of the most pronounced panic produced by the so-called global markets crisis. Measured on a weighted average basis, these stocks have gained an average of 117% each, for an aggregate current total market value (capitalisation) of USD 1.1 trillion.
Lima – Cerro de Pasco, seven hours by bus. Some 300km separate heaven and hell. The contrast between trendy restaurants and bars in Lima and the gloomy town of Cerro de Pasco cannot be bigger.
The road to Pasco extends form sea level over a pass of 4800m and winds up the high plateau. We pass hundreds of heavy loaded trucks that crawl up the mountain. A splendid green mountain landscape passes by. In between the mountain tops large empty orange spots are visible. These deep scars, in this largely undisturbed landscape appear to be mining projects. While passing another truck, we suddenly have to brake because we face another truck that just came round the corner. Later at some 4000m height, a sterile valley is unveiled from the grey fog. A mountain, halve excavated shows beautiful colors from its interior: yellow to orange. The huge project of Morococha is at our feet and forms a forerunner from what we would see next in Cerro de Pasco.
We drive under a sign ‘Welcome in Cerro de Pasco, capital of mining in Peru’. Another 200m further the town is suddenly at our feet. A divided town with in the middle a deep wide pit (1 km wide, 500m deep), the result of 55 years of excavations. A quest for metal for which everything had to move. The culmination of a capitalistic system that puts economic profits in front of everything. This was something we only found out later, when the impact of the Volcan company (the Peruvian company that acquired the mine in 1999) became clear to us.
The indigenous populations of the Amazon area in Peru have united and started a protest against the policy of President Alan Garcia. They cry for help in their attempt to protect the Amazon, which is under pressure because of the extraction and export of oil, gas, timber, gold, and other commodities.
In Lauricocha, a province of Huánuco, in the central part of the peruvian Andes, protests against mining company Raura S.A. started this morning. Thousands of people have begun a 24 hours strike that paralyses public life.
CATAPA provides technical and legal support to NGO’s in Latin America. The working group on study responses on specific questions from southern organisations or from other working groups. One of the essential aspects in our movement is doing research.
CATAPA focuses in its research on all aspects of science. This relates to globalisation and liberalisation, ecological, social and economic sustainability, health risks, alternative mining, and national and international law.
Farming communities all over the world are experiencing how the arrival of mining companies is accompanied by social unrest and disintegration. Multinational corporations instruct local affiliated companies and their accomplices to use ‘divide and conquer’ strategies such as bribery, threat, violence and blackmail in order to break the resistance of local communities who oppose to the taking of their land.