Peru: indigenous consulta rejects mineral project


Submitted by WW4 Report –

Date of publication: 
2 October 2012

On Oct. 1, the indigenous village of San Juan Bautista de Cañaris in Peru’s northern region of Lambayeque announced the results of a consulta, or community consultation, on the proposed Cañariaco Norte open-pit copper mine, saying 1,896 members of the pueblo of some 4,000 voted by 95% to reject it. The results were immediately forwarded to the Energy and Mines Ministry (MINEM).

Vancouver-based Candente Copper, which hopes to develop the project, issued a statement rejecting the consulta, saying the community had already approved the project in a “general assembly” held on July 8. The statement noted that the “general assembly” has been called for judicial authorities after Cristobal Barrios, the president of the Cañaris Campesino Community, had refused to convene it.

The statement said the “general assembly” had been confirmed as “legally binding” by MINEM, and charged that Barrios had called the consulta “unilaterally” in violation of Peru’s General Law of Campesino Communities (PDF). Cañaris community representatives, in turn, noted that more residents participated in the consulta than in the “general assembly,” and insisted that the new vote represents the will of the community. (Marketwire Canada, Bloomberg, Oct. 2; El Comercio via Gato Encerrado, Diario Correo, Oct. 1)


Candente Copper Provides Clarifications on Recent Community Consulta in Peru

2 October 2012

Vancouver, British Columbia, October 2nd, 2012. Candente Copper Corp. (TSX:DNT, BVL:DNT, US:CCOXF) (“the Company”) advises that further details have been provided to the Company regarding a meeting of some the members of the Comunidad Campesina San Juan De Kañaris (“the Community”) which was held on Sunday September 30th.

The meeting held on September 30th was called a Consulta by secret vote (“consulta”) and was called for unilaterally by Señor Cristóbal Barrios, President of the Community, following a judicially called for General Assembly (“GA”) held on July 8th. The July 8th GA was called for by a judge due to a petition by over 1,000 citizens because the President refused to call for the legally required GA. The GA complied with all formalities of Peruvian law and has been previously confirmed as legally binding by the Ministry of Energy and Mines of Peru (“MEM”).

During the July 8th GA the Community voted in favour of granting surface access to the Company for resumption of exploration and feasibility drilling at Cañariaco for a period of three years (see Candente Copper News Release 037 dated July 9th, 2012), and was followed by a formal agreement which was notarized on July 23rd, 2012 with the signatures of the three legal representatives elected by the community to complete this agreement, as well as the Company, such that both parties now have acquired rights and obligations which must be respected.

The consulta was held by secret vote and at three separate locations simultaneously – neither of which are allowed by Peruvian Community Law – and it was carried out without any state representatives or NGOs whom could guarantee transparency and respect for the citizens’ democratic right to vote freely.

During the voting process, the President was moving about the Community using propaganda to promote his proposal, and issuing a special card to his supporters only. Without the special card a Community member was not allowed to vote. It has been reported by community members that only approximately 650 people were allowed to vote.

The Company’s Peruvian counsel has advised that this meeting should be considered an opinion of some but cannot be interpreted to be the opinion of the community as a whole, and is not legally binding.

The Company will continue to conduct and strengthen our ongoing sustainable development programs and Community Relations activities with the various members of the community, as we move forward with the Cañariaco Norte copper project. The Company plans to mobilize for drilling as soon as the remaining formal documentation is received from the Ministry.

About Candente Copper

Candente Copper’s flagship project is the 100% owned, 7.5 billion pound, Feasibility stage Cañariaco Norte Copper Project located in northern Peru’s prolific mining district. The Cañariaco Norte deposit contains a Measured and Indicated resource of 752.4 million tonnes grading 0.49% copper equivalent*, and an Inferred Resource of 157.7 million tonnes at 0.44% copper equivalent*.