Newmont's Conga mine, in Cajamarca, Peru has drawn a great deal of opposition from local communities. Local organization Grufides is currently challenging Newmont in court, arguing that the mine, and the manner in which it was approved by the government, violates their Constitutional right to a balanced environment.
This week, Earthworks joined Earthrights International and the Center for International Environmental Law in filing an amicus curiae [friend of the court brief] to the Peruvian Constitutional Court in support of Grufides' case.
In the brief, we say that legitimate concerns have been raised about the environmental impacts of the Conga mine, including the destruction of wetlands and lagoons critical to local communities and contamination of groundwater. These impacts violate the right to a balanced environment; a right that is recognized not only by the Court hearing the case in international law.
Specifically, we oppose the conflict of interest that came about when the Ministry of Energy and Mines approved the Conga mine environmental impact assessment [EIA]. The Ministry had been promoting the mine while also serving as the final arbiter of the EIA.
International laws and conventions require an independent system to review environmental impact assessments. Such principles of sustainable development have been increasingly adopted by national and international governing bodies. We call on the Court to recognize these rights for Cajamarcans, and Newmont to uphold these standards in all the countries in which it operates.