You are here

Mining companies in Peru are making a small minority mightily rich!

There is nothing innocent about Peru! People in the world imagine Peru and think of Incas and Machu Picchu and its noble past civilisations. However, this era is well and truly over! Peru is still under the thumb of Colonialism, just the names have changed! Corruption is rife, and so is crime and human rights abuses. Mining companies are making a small minority mightily rich, and the indigenous and rightful owners of the land are suffering torture, death and death threats, loss of land, water pollution and loss of food. This is the 21st century, but all there is from the world is silence! Where is justice? This country is being raped, polluted and people are being abused, all quite "legally".

Many people in Australia are ignorant of what is really happening in Peru. They are still in the agony of Colonialism, despite "independence" since 1821! Only the names of the conquistador thugs have changed! Mining protesters are supposed to be in a democratic country, but the voices of the people are being violently crushed while their land is being confiscated, polluted and raped!

The mining company, Minera Majaz, subsidiary of the English Montericco Metals, is operating illegally on their territories. The license the company is operating with is illegal. The Chinese mining company, Xiamen Zijin Tongguan Development Consortium, since 1989 have 9% of their shares. The national coordinator of human rights has produced stunning pictures of assaults in 29 community sites of Minera Majaz.

27 men and 2 women unarmed protestors, representing the 29 communities from Ayabaca and Huancabamba, have been undefended by police or the legal system since being attacked and left in hell for three days before being released in August 3rd, 2005. Pictures speak a thousand words! They were simply exercising their right to protest.

The photographic records show how these peasants were attacked and tortured. One of them, Melanio Garcia, was killed. They were kidnapped and forced to walk barefoot on the steep paths towards the mining camp. They were tied up and sprayed with toxic substances that inhibited their breathing. Most of them were stripped, or left nearly bare, thus making them vulnerable to low temperatures and attacks. They were threatened with incarceration in Rio Seco prison with terrorists and drug traffickers and never to return home.

Senesi Jiménez Peña, the head of one community of Yanta, was struck repeatedly on the floor. Jiménez Peña was on the floor face down with his hands tied back. Fear gripped the majority.

They heard a desperate "Help me, God." And police in a mocking tone repeated that there is no God except the police.
The aggression and violence did not stop for three days. Exactly how Melanio Garcia died on August 2nd 2005 is a mystery, but the photos should reveal the extent of the violence and the possible circumstances.

There are now 300 leading environmental protestors facing prosecution in Piura and Cajamarca for “terrorist offences”. They include riot, conspiracy, theft and damage! However, they were simply protesting against environmental destruction of their homes and land and exercising an assumed basic democratic right to protect what is legally theirs!

According to spokesman and coordinator for Vicarate for the Environment, Nicanor Alvaradez Carrasco, the Upper Amazons are very rich in resources and are part of their heritage. Most of the Amazons are being overtaken by foreign companies who exploit them in non-environmentally friendly ways. Some exploit them illegally, like Minera Majaz.

Companies, like Monterrico Metals are contaminating their land, killing peasant leaders, and torturing those active in opposing Minera Majaz. The global community needs to know that these atrocities are going on!

Benefits from the mining are not being shared to the communities in northern Peru. Buckets of gold and copper are being extracted from Peruvian soil each day, but are being transformed overseas. The benefits for their country are very small. Communities are not receiving benefits, and there are no environmentally sound methods being followed. Foreigners are getting richer, while the inhabitants and the land are becoming poorer!

Minera Majaz, like other mining companies, is a threat to the environment, and is unsustainable.
According to Carrasco, after 15 or 20 years, there will be nothing left of the Amazons, or of the culture of the people or the biodiversity of the region. “Two peasant community leaders have been murdered. 50 cases of torture have been reported. 200 of us are being pursued legally and will be imprisoned in the next few months."

Alan Garcia’s government, who recently hosted Kevin Rudd and other world leaders who visited Peru in December for the APEC conference to discuss free-trade, is explicitly and implicitly supporting the mining. This corrupt government is making money and all the land of the Upper Amazons has been requisitioned by foreign countries.

"What is scandalous is that last week, military troops were sent into the region of Yanta, one of the areas belonging to the Minera Majaz concessions. These elite forces were sent there with the intention of opening a pathway for the Montericco Metals company, who had not been let in by the regions’ inhabitants in previous attempts. These peasant communities have radically opposed the mining company and have never let them enter their territories, even when it was the exploratory phase of the project. Now, the military is forcing its way in, which means that in the next few days we can expect the death of hundreds of the active peasant opponents."

There is no justice, and we in Australia should not be supporting APEC or supporting a corrupt and evil government under President Alan Garcia.


This company was purchased by Chinese interests Zijin Mining Group and is now called Rio Blanco. For a long time Monterrico Metals and the authorities denied everything, but now with medical proof and photographic evidence… their denials actually provide further grounds for charges to be brought. The doctor who examined the tortured people has also been charged with the crime of expedition of false medical certificates, as he did not affirm the evidence of tortures presented to him.

Over 90% of people who cast their vote did so against mining. The result was a resounding 'No'. President Garcia stated he refuses to listen to "illiterate" peasants influenced by NGOs. Little public funds are spent on education and teachers aren't being paid!

Andrew Bristow, investor relations manager at Monterrico, declined to comment on the merit of the torture case.

Hi Vivienne,

I have checked the articles you referenced. Thank you for attempting to make this situation more known.
Australians should not feel complacent because we are travelling down the same path. Poor Peru!
Is there perhaps some way Australians and others might help by contributing a bit of cash to the workers there?
Post an address for donations if you have one.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
home page