The US-based Newmont Mining Corporation is the world's wealthiest gold mining company and has been denounced within the United States and by other countries including Indonesia, Ghana, Turkey, and Bolivia. Its critics accuse Newmont of seriously damaging the environment and public health, bribing government officials, abusing its workers, and hiring people to threaten and attack the company's critics. Its activities in Peru date back to the second half of the 1990s, during the Fujimori Dictatorship, when it managed to obtain the deposit reserve of Yanacocha, Cajamarca, in the northern highlands of Peru, which has continuously generated conflicts. In 1998, thousands of trout died in rivers near the mine; in 2000, hundreds of kilos of mercury were spilled in the Choropampa district. Four years later, the water from Cerro Quilish, which supplies the capital Cajamarca, was contaminated. Due to massive popular protest, a municipal ordinance was passed establishing the mountain aquifer as a protected zone. Ollanta Humala, who became Peru's president in 2011, decided to move forward with Newmont's second wealthiest project, called Conga Mines (that would relieve the already exhausted Yanacocha mine). The project was originally approved by former president Alan García and would endanger four large highland Andean lagoons in the region, generating the largest and most important socio-environmental conflict thus far under that government.
Skip Nav Destination
Jorge Millones; Conga Mines: Development as Conflict in Peru. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2016; 115 (3): 640–647. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-3608708
Download citation file: