After failed attempts to dialogue with HudBay Minerals, the Velille Defence Front, community presidents, community boards, the Chumbivilcas Defence Front and nearby districts have announced a preventative strike for 72 hours starting January 25, 2016 against the company’s Peruvian subsidiary HudBay Perú S.A.C. HudBay’s open-pit Constancia copper project is located within the districts of Velille, Chamaca and Livitaca, in the province of Chumbivilcas, department of Cusco, Peru. The community organizations of Velille are demanding that the company meet various economic, social and environmental demands.
Among other things, residents of Velille demand:
- That all communities of the district of Velille be listed as directly-affected by the Constancia project through a modification to the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).
- That joint environmental monitoring be undertaken at least three times per year with participation of the state’s Environmental Auditing and Evaluation Body (OEFA), the National Water Authority (ANA), HudBay and the Oversight and Environmental Monitoring Committee of Velille.
- That modifications to the ESIA be reported to the community and that a contingency plan to address environmental contamination from the mine be implemented.
- That the company invest in the district development plan to implement education programs, a health centre, electricity and to pave the road that connects Espinar with Chumbivilcas, as well as to provide jobs, economic opportunities, and that the company abide by existing agreements with local communities.
Throughout 2015, local authorities and organizations from Velille have organized a range of events and meetings about mining in their territory, focusing on the social and environmental issues that the company should address in the district. The have observed the lack of information from the government and the company regarding modifications to the Constancia ESIA. Velille Mayor, Sergio Valencia Salcedo, and the President of the Velille Defence Front, Guider Puma, have indicated that invitations and letters they sent to the company and the government requesting dialogue have not received a response.
Since acquiring the Constancia project in 2011, HudBay Minerals has been in conflict with various communities affected by the Constancia project. In November 2014, members of the community of Uchuccarco in the district of Chamaca protested in HudBay’s mining camp, leading to several confrontations with the National Police. The community of Uchuccarco denounced HudBay’s failure to fulfill its commitments and its refusal to discuss or negotiate a second addendum to the initial agreement signed with the community. Since that time, the community has been in talks with the company to try to resolve their demands.
The districts of Velille, Chamaca and Livitaca encompass the territory of some thirty campesino and Indigenous communities whose livelihoods depend principally on agriculture and livestock.
HudBay announced commercial operations at the Constancia mine in mid 2015.
Platform for the District of Velille’s Peaceful Preventative 72-Hour Strike Against HudBay Peru S.A.C.
Velille, January 21, 2016
On the basis of Law #28611 - the General Environmental Law -, Law #27446 - the Law for the National System for Environmental Impact Assessment -, and D.S. #040-2014EM - the Regulation for Environmental Protection and Management regarding Mineral Extraction, Processing, General Labour, Transportation and Storage -, the people of Velille demand that HudBay Peru S.A.C. strictly comply with their social and environmental responsibilities, which should be clearly outlined in a contract with clear rules to guarantee mutual respect and governance in the district of Velille.
- All communities of Velille should be designated as directly-affected within the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Constancia mining project.
- Participatory environmental monitoring should be undertaken at least three times per year with the participation of the state’s Environmental Auditing and Evaluation Body (OEFA), the National Water Authority (ANA), HudBay and the Oversight and Environmental Monitoring Committee of Velille.
- Modifications to the Constancia ESIA should be reported to the people of Velille and the province of Chumbivilcas in accordance with the law.
- Contingency plans should be implemented along with mitigation projects to address environmental contamination within the area of direct influence of the mine.
- HudBay Peru S.A.C. should invest in sustainable development projects for the people of Velille and its eight campesino communities as part of the district’s development plan. (To include, among other things, basic sanitation within the district of Velille, a Velille health centre, education and electrification projects, paving the road between Espinar and Chumbivilcas, agriculture and livestock projects for the eight communities.)
- Jobs and professional training for residents of Velille and dissemination of job openings in the province of Chumbivilcas.
- Implement economic development projects in Velille (local businesses).
- Comply with existing agreements with communities in the mine’s area of influence.
If these demands are not met, protests will intensify at the inter-provincial level.
Velille will be respected, it will not be divided!
Stop environmental contamination and no more mining concessions in the district of Velille!
Onward with the 72 hour strike!
Velille Defence Front and other campesino communities and organizations
Translated and compiled from the original documents in Spanish.