A Mining Country
Peru was, is, and will be a mining country. To say otherwise is an
Antonio brAck, biologist And peru’s first minister of
the environment
From balconies lining the narrow streets of Cajamarca, onlookers
watched with a mixture of curiosity and concern as streams of
people headed toward the Plaza de Armas on a late morning in
May 2012. Organized into groups representing unions, neighbor-
hood committees, educational institutions, and rondas campesi-
nas (peasant patrols), the marchers passed storefronts that had
been covered up as store owners braced themselves for another
protest. These scenes had become all too familiar for residents
of this highland town known for its dairy industry and, more re-
cently, gold production at Yanacocha, South America’s largest
gold mine. Yanacocha was a joint venture of the U.S.- based New-
mont Mining Corporation (which holds 51.35 percent of shares),
the Peruvian company Buenaventura (with 43.65 percent of
shares), and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation
(with the remaining 5 percent of shares). These same actors were
involved in the development of the Conga mining project, which
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