Mining company fined for polluting
A subsidiary of the Anglo-Swiss commodities giant Glencore Xstrata has been fined US$84,000 for polluting farmland around its copper mine in Espinar, Cusco, Peru.
According to a report on Peru Support Group online the fine was announced by the official tribunal of the Peruvian Organisation for Environmental Assessment and Regulation (OEFA) at the start of January, after an appeal against its September resolution failed.
The subsidiary, Xstrata Tintaya, was found responsible for elevated levels of copper in the soil in an area of pasture covering some 1000m2. The company had also failed to report the incident to OEFA and to provide a report on an investigation. Excessive levels of copper can harm biodiversity and poison livestock.
Xstrata Tintaya argued that the copper was naturally occurring and not the result of pollution, but OEFA concluded that the metal had spread from water being pumped through a channel by the company. The tribunal found that the levels of copper had reached nearly 1800% of the naturally occurring concentration in the area and more than 3000% of the maximum set by international standards.
Dialogue between the company and local communities, established after fatal clashes in 2012 over the mine’s social funding and alleged environmental impact, is due to conclude in March.
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