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Compania Minera Antamina operates an open-pit mine and a milling and ore concentrating facility in the municipality of San Marcos in the Ancash region of Peru. The concentrates extracted from the mine are transported via an underground pipeline through the Department of Ancash to Punta Lobitos in the Municipality of Huarmey. At Punta Lobitos, the water is separated from the concentrate and loaded onto ships to be transported to global markets. In May 2005, the Sindicato Unico de Pescadores de Huarmey-Culebras, a local union chapter of the Federación de Pescadores del Perú and the organization Vida e Impactos del Ambiente lodged a complaint with CAO in relation to the port facilities of the copper and zinc Minera Antamina. It is the second complaint received by CAO in relation to the port facility. The complaint raised the following issues:
The port facilities are negatively impacting the marine environment as well as discharging water waste and spilling metal concentrate into the Huarmey Bay;
The proposal of a bio-monitoring project to evaluate the marine environment around the port facilities by means of cultivation and analysis of marine life.
In June 2005, CAO appraised and accepted the complaint and subsequently conducted an assessment trip in November 2005 to assist the parties in identifying steps towards resolution. There is a history of negative interaction between large commercial projects and local groups surrounding the mine site. In particular, management of resettlement at the mine site by the operation has caused considerable tension, which, despite substantive efforts for remediation, has soured community relationships.
Case Status: Closed
In the Assessment Report and Technical Annex, released May 2006, CAO determined that the main allegation presented in the complaint - that the operations of Antamina are a source of significant contamination and loss of fishing resources in the Huarmey Bay - were not substantiated by CAO’s independent technical consultant. The assessment recommended that Antamina continue to enhance its sharing and disclosure of information and work together with the monitoring committee and other local stakeholders to identify strategies for ensuring that monitoring is credible and trusted by local people seeking information about the mine’s impacts. Following the release of the report, representatives from Antamina and the monitoring committee requested that CAO facilitate a capacity building workshop to address issues related to the port facilities, which was convened and facilitated by CAO in July 2006. CAO confirmed at the workshop that the case was closed.
CAO Case Story page: http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/cases/case_detail.aspx?id=108