Newmont's subsidiary beating up Peruvian farming couple
Tuesday 20 September 2016
Peruvian couple beaten up - Newmont Mining subsidiary accused of grossly violating Peruvian landowners’ rights
Newmont mining, which just last week attended an IUCN World Congress discussion on extractive industries and conservation, where it styled itself as one of the “good guys”, now stands accused of violating the human rights of a Peruvian woman and her husband who were beaten up by one of Newmont’s subsidiary companies’ security guards and hospitalised. This was on the woman’s land where the company’s subsidiary want to open a gold and copper mine.
Cath Wallace, of ECO New Zealand, says she has received an urgent notice that fellow Goldman Prize recipient, Máxima Acuña, who successfully challenged Newmont’s attempts to drive her off her own land in the Peruvian highlands, had been attacked by security guards
The report says “Máxima and her husband were attacked and hurt by security personnel from the Yanacocha mine (run by the Conga Comp., a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corp., based in the state of Colorado, USA). The guards entered her family farm without authorization, and when confronted by Máxima and her husband, they attacked both of them.”
The report, which cites the couple’s son as the source, says that Máxima Acuña, 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize Recipient for South and Central America, was hospitalized along with her husband who was also attacked.
A further report is that the couple were attacked when they tried to stop Yanacoocha mine employees from digging their land. Máxima Acuña was reportedly hit on her head and body by someone wielding a gun, and seriously injured.
This is intolerable, says Cath Wallace. The company seems to be saying one thing and doing quite the opposite. Newmont’s own website claims that it builds relationships on trust and acts respectfully:
“Building Relationships Based on Trust”
“Throughout the mining lifecycle we work to build respectful and healthy relationships with the communities surrounding our operations, projects, and other activities. These relationships create the foundation to build shared value so that both our business and our host communities can grow sustainably.”
The event has been reported as happening at the couple’s farm land where Newmont's subsidiary wants to mine for gold and copper. The couple, who want no more than to continue to quietly occupy their land which a higher court has confirmed they own, were taken to hospital according to their son, Daniel.
Cath Wallace, a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1991, says the apparent behaviour of the company’s subsidiary in Peru, leave’s Newmont’s reputation in tatters. She also called on the Peruvian Government to guarantee the safety of the family and their quiet possession of the land and to expell Newmont and its subsidiary from Peru.
Wallace called on the International Council of Mining and Metallurgy, ICMM, to eject them from their membership. ICMM has ten principles to which the member companies sign up. This includes Principle 1:
Apply ethical business practices and sound systems of corporate governance and transparency to support sustainable development.
“Beating people up is not ethical and nor is it sustainable. Bullying farmers off their land is unacceptable. If ICMM is to have any credibility as anything more than a mining industry whitewash operation, then Newmont must have its membership withdrawn from ICMM.
Wallace also says IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, should stop allowing Newmont to attend IUCN meetings.
“The mining company has already made the family’s life a misery by bullying the couple, fencing them into their land so that they do not feel free to come and go, and making the family feel that they are under constant surveillance. Now they resort to physical violence.
“Newmont recently sold out of New Zealand. We were glad to see them go.
“Harrassing and beating up subsistence farmers in Peru is not on. They should be barred from holding any minerals permits everywhere.”
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1 See more about Máxima Acuña, photographs and about the family’s struggle at http://www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/maxima-acuna/