Mirtha Vasquez, an attorney based in Cajamarca, Peru, has two young kids and a full caseload protecting communities from irresponsible mining activity in the mineral-rich Andean region. Yet she made the long trip to Wilmington, DE to join Earthrights International and Earthworks to attend Newmont’s Mining Company’s annual shareholders’ meeting. Together, we called on CEO Gary Goldberg to address the armed repression of protesters, untreated pollution, threats to water availability and other issues of concern to communities in the area.
April 22, Wilmington, DE -- At Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM)’s annual general meeting today, shareholders and civil society groups joined a community leader from Cajamarca, Peru in calling on the Denver-based mining giant to live up to its human rights commitments and stop harassing indigenous Cajamarca residents who have blocked Newmont’s proposed Conga gold mine.
In a David v Goliath battle, Newmont has responded to community opposition to its mine by using police and private security to harass and intimidate local residents and landowners, including the families of Máxima Acuña de Chaupe and Elmer Campos.
After being beaten, robbed and sentenced to prison for fighting to protect her property, Maxima finally got justice against mining behemoth Newmont two months ago. But despite the victory, police harassment, backed by the mining company, has not stopped.
This week, Newmont Mining Co. held its annual shareholders’ meeting.
As it has done for the past several years, the event took place at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware, more than a thousand miles from its headquarters in Colorado, and far from the protesters and media attention that typified its meetings when they were held in downtown Denver.
But despite keeping its shareholder meeting under wraps, Newmont has not escaped either controversy or protesters.
Yesterday was Newmont Mining Corporation s annual general meeting, held in Delaware.
Mass protest in 2004, the last time Newmont proposed expanding its Yanacocha mine into Cerro Quilish. Credit: GRUFIDES
In the weeks leading up to the AGM, reports started to trickle in about the world s second largest gold mining company s activities around Cerro Quilish, a mountain in northern Peru that is of spiritual significance and a water source for thousands of residents in and around Cajamarca.
This news was a turnaround from Newmont s decision to back off from its proposal to mine Cerro Quilish, following weeks of protest by the region s residents in Fall 2004, which temporarily shut down Newmont s operations at the Yanacocha mine near Cajamarca.
In the years since then, Newmont has taken steps that suggest it is trying to improve on this checkered track record with communities: