By David Hill, March 13, 2014. Source: Upside Down World
Photo: Rainforest Foundation Norway
Oil and gas company Repsol is selling its stake in controversial oil operations in a remote part of the Peruvian Amazon inhabited by indigenous people in ‘voluntary isolation’ (IPVI), just across the border from the ITT oil fields in Ecuador.
Repsol’s move follows an investigation by the Council on Ethics within Norway’s Finance Ministry which, according to Norwegian sources, recommended the Ministry divest from the company because of its operations in this region.
The decision by Repsol to sell its stake was revealed in a report by Peru’s state oil and gas licensing agency, Perupetro, which stated that a Repsol Peru subsidiary is selling 50% of Lot 39, as the oil concession is called, to Perenco.
Repsol spokesperson Gonzalo Velasco Perez confirms the sale, saying, ‘In November Repsol started the process of ceding the 50% of the rights in Lot 39 in Peru to Perenco. The process hasn’t finished yet and will take a few more months.’
By David Hill, February 25, 2014. Source: The Guardian
A Matsigenka woman in south-east Peru where the Camisea gas project is taking place. Photograph: Glenn Shepard
Three Peruvian judges are scheduled to meet on 1 April following a lawsuit filed to stop a gas consortium from operating in a reserve in the Amazon created for indigenous peoples living in “initial contact” and “voluntary isolation.”
There are already wells in the west of the reserve where gas has been produced for years, and last month the Energy Ministry approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the expansion of operationsinvolving more wells, a pipeline extension and seismic tests further to the north, east and south.
The lawsuit was filed against the Energy Ministry and the company leading the consortium, Pluspetrol, in August 2013 by the Lima-basedInstitute for the Legal Defence of the Environment and Sustainable Development (IDLADS). It asks the judge to order, among other things, the Energy Ministry to rescind its approval of the expansion and to ban all oil and gas operations in the reserve:
We request that [the judge] orders the Ministry of Energy and Mines to exclude the Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti and Others’ Reserve from any kind of promotion, exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons. Continue reading
February 8, 2014. Source: WW4 Report
Peruvian police block the way to people carrying the coffins of three of the demonstrators who died during the protests against the Conga mining project in Celendin, Cajamarca, Peru, on July 6, 2013. Source: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/GettyImages
EarthRights International (ERI) on Jan. 24 filed an action in federal court in Denver on behalf of a protestor left paralyzed by police violence at the site of Colorado-based Newmont Mining‘s Conga mine project in Peru. ERI is seeking documents and information from Newmont to assist in pending legal proceedings in Peru related to the police repression of protestors against the Conga project.
Elmer Eduardo Campos Álvarez, a 32-year-old resident of the Cajamarca department, where the Conga project is planned, lost a kidney and his spleen and was paralyzed from the waist down on Nov. 29, 2011, when National Police officers shot him in the back while he was peacefully protesting. Campos was among at least 24 protestors injured by police that day.
The Yanacocha mining company, Newmont’s local subsidiary, contracted with the National Police of Peru to provide security services at the planned mine site.Officers involved in the repression of November 2011 have told local prosecutors that they were providing security to the company. The proposed Conga mine has generated strong community opposition; the project would mean the destruction of lakes held sacred by local people, who also depend on them as a water source. Continue reading
January 20, 2014. Source: Forest Peoples Programme
An aerial view of the Mipaya gas exploration camp, part of the Camisea project in the Amazon jungle near Cuzco, Peru. Photo: Cris Bouroncle /AFP/Getty Images
Oxford, UK – A Forest Peoples Programme report published today reveals the severe impacts of Peru’s biggest gas project on indigenous peoples in “voluntary isolation” (isolated peoples) in the Amazon, including epidemics, disease and forced and hostile contacts caused by project operators.
The report is published at a crucial time as the project consortium led by Pluspetrol is seeking approval for a massive planned expansion. These plans are currently on standby as project operators await formal approval from Peru’s Ministry of Culture which has already withheld endorsement on two separate occasions in part because of the risks the project poses to isolated peoples . However, the project now appears to be on the brink of being approved as on the 13th January 2014 Pluspetrol formally responded to the 3 outstanding ‘observations’ made by the Vice-Ministry of Inter-culturality.
The study draws on a variety of sources including, amongst others, the reports of government ministries and project operators, the project’s own environmental impact assessment (EIA), and its financial backers the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), many of which highlight that the project’s massive expansion plans are likely to intensify these impacts for isolated peoples. As a result, the expansion plans are liable to result in a range of impacts including further undesired contacts, increased epidemics and death rates, and reduced access to game, fish stocks, gardens and the forest for vital subsistence activities. Continue reading
January 12, 2014. Source: WW4 Report
Achuar protesting Peru’s state oil company’s plans to operate on their land, 9 May 2013. Photograph: Amazon Watch
Achuar indigenous leader Segundo García Sandi began a hunger strike Jan. 7 to demand his freedom at Huayabamba prison in Iquitos, Peru. García Sandi was arrested Dec. 5, on charges of tampering with an oil pipeline run by Argentine company Pluspetrol through his people’s territory in the remote north of Loreto department. He claims he is being held illegally without evidence, but a habeas corpus action filed by his supporters has met with no response by Peru’s judicial authorities.
García Sandi’s organization, the Río Corrientes Federation of Native Communities (FECONACO), asserts the arrest is retaliation for his demands for environmental justice. FECONACO reports that five Achuar children died in December as a result of contamination related to oil operations in the area, and that a state of emergency announced by Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal in October for the Corrientes Valley, calling for special monitoring, is going unenforced. The Environment Ministry in November took the rare step of fining Pluspetrol $7 million for contamination to the Loreto rainforest. (Servindi, Jan. 11; La Región, Loreto, Jan. 8; Mariátegui blog, Jan. 7; La Región, Dec. 20; AP, Nov. 27)
16 October, 2013. Source: Forest Peoples’ Programme
Photos in an internal report by a Peruvian government agency reveal illegal clearings in a reserve in the Amazon purportedly protecting indigenous peoples living in ‘voluntary isolation’ and ‘initial contact.’
The report is based on helicopter over-flights of the Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti Reserve (KNNR) made by the National Institute for the Development of Andean, Amazonian and Afroperuvian Peoples (INDEPA) on 2 and 3 February 2012.
Almost a quarter of the KNNR is superimposed by a gas concession, Lot 88, where a consortium led by Pluspetrol has exploited the Camisea gas fields since 2004. According to the report, the clearings, numbering seven in total, are all at the same locations where Pluspetrol is now hoping to drill up to 21 new wells as part of a massive expansion of its operations.
One of the report’s conclusions reads, ‘Of the seven projected future drilling platforms forming part of the Exploration and Development of Lot 88 (San Martin Este, San Martin Norte, Kimaro Centro, Kimaro Norte, Kimaro Oeste, Armihuari Norte and Armihuari Sur), all are marked with clearings.’ Continue reading
Deadly attack on family of miner leader
September 25, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report
The wife and infant son of a local mining leader were assassinated last week in the community of Pamputa, Coyllurqui district, Cotabambas province, Apurímac region, Peru. The bodies were found Sept. 18 by Carmelo Hanco, president of the local Artisenal Miners Association of Los Apus de Chunta, when he returned home from a trip to Abancay, the regional capital, where he had been petitioning authorities for the “formalization” of mining claims. Authorities said the killings took place during a robbery, but Hanco said he suspected the involvement of the Xstrata mining company—which he charged has been pressing for the arrest of independent artisenal miners in the region with an eye towards establishing its own operations. The company has for 10 years operated a giant gold, silver and copper mine at nearby Las Bambas (Chahuahuacho district), above the opposition of both local artisenal miners and campesinos. (Con Nuestro Peru, Sept. 21)
Xstrata is currently taking bids for sale of the mine at Las Bambas, as a condition imposed by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) for its approval of Swiss-based Xstrata’s merger with another Anglo-Swiss mineral giant, Glencore. Jiangxi Copper, China’s top producer, andChinalco Mining, another Chinese giant, are leading bidders. (Mining.com, Aug. 23)
More unrest is meanwhile reported from Puno region, bordering Lake Titicaca, the scene of numerous conflicts related to mineral exploitation. A local uprising broke out in the town of Huancané on Sept. 20, with roads blocked and a 72-hour paro, or civil strike, declared. One of the town councilors and another provincial official who were accused of corruption were detained by a mob and publicly whipped with a belt. (La Republica, Sept. 20)
24 August, 2013. Source: WW4 Report
Campesinos occupying the contested Conga mine site in Peru’s Cajamarca region on Aug. 20 tore down a gate they said had been illegally erected by the Yanacocha mining company across a trail used by locals as a traditional right-of-way. Video footage shows protesters using shovels and farm implements to tear up and drag away the metal gate across the pathway near Laguna Namocoha, one of the highland lakes that will be impacted by the mining project. National Police troops on hand apparently did not interfere. Idelso Hernández, leader of the Cajamarca Defense Front, challenged police and prosecutors to attend a campesino assembly to answer for allowing construction of the gates. Protesters said that if their demand for a meeting on the matter was not met, they would similarly take down two other gates built by the company blocking access to lagunas Azul and Cortada. (Celendin Libre, Aug. 20; video footage at Celendin Libre, Aug. 20)
Over the course of the ongoing occupation of the Conga site, police have sometimes used violence but mostly sought to avoid confrontations that could win sympathy for the protesters. Quiet harassment of project opponents has continued unabated, however. On July 28, journalist César Estrada, who has documented the occupation for local media, was detained near the Conga site by agents of the National Police Special Operations Diectorate (DINOES) and men in orange safety vests who appeared to be Yanacocha workers—but, like the police agents, in ski masks. The men confiscated his camera, cell phone and wireless modem before releasing him. (Celendin Libre, Aug. 3) Continue reading
August 17, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report
Indigenous leaders in Peru’s northern Amazonian region of Loreto on Aug. 10 protested that a leak from Pluspetrol‘s oil operations at the exploitation bloc known as Lot 8X is causing contamination within the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, with which the bloc overlaps. Alfonso López Tejada, president of the Cocoma Association for the Development and Conservation of San Pablo de Tipishca (ACODECOSPAT) said that the reserve is “every day more unprotected against oil spills.” (RPP, Aug. 11; El Comercio, Lima, Aug. 10)
Peru’s Vice-Ministry of Inter-Culturality (VMI) has reportedly thrown its support behind proposals to establish five new reserves for indigenous peoples living in “voluntary isolation” in the Amazon rainforest, totaling almost four million hectares. The VMI apparently revealed its support for the reserves in a letter this month to Amazonian indigenous allaince AIDESEP. But four of the five proposed reserves overlap with hydrocarbon concessions where various companies are at different stages of exploration or production. One of the reserves was first proposed a decade ago by indigenous organzation ORPIO in an area of Loreto near the Ecuador border where oil interest Perenco currently holds a concession on Lot 67. Much of the proposed area also overlaps with Lot 39, where a concession in held by Repsol.
Another of the proposed reserves, in the Yavari-Tapiche basin on the border with Brazil, is overlapped by three concessions: Lot 95, held by Gran Tierra Energy, and Lots 135 and 137, both held by Pacific Rubiales Energy. According to UK-based Survival International, Pacific Rubiales’ explorations, which began last year and, according to AIDESEP, are opposed by the Matsés people who inhabit the area. “Tell the world that the Matsés are firm in our position against the oil company. We do not want it on our land,” said Matsés man Salomon Dunu in a video message to Pacific Rubiales posted on the internet in June by Survival.
August 6, 2013. Source: Survival International
Photo: Survival International
At least three ministers have resigned in Peru, amidst increasing pressure to approve a controversial gas project in the Amazon.
The plan to expand the existing Camisea gas project, which is within the Nahua-Nanti Reserve for uncontacted tribes, has been widely condemned, and in March the UN called for its ‘immediate suspension’.
Peru’s Ministry of Culture, charged with protecting indigenous peoples’ rights, last week issued a report outlining the dangers the project would pose to uncontacted and isolated Indians’ lives. But the report disappeared just hours after it was published online, and both the Minister and Vice-minister of Culture have now stepped down.
Amongst concerns outlined in the Ministry’s report are the risk of disease being spread amongst the isolated Indians, who lack immunity to common illnesses which may be brought in by oil company workers and outsiders.