Peru’s Aymara people, who threatened the government with massive protests, have persuaded Congress to halt a bill proposing payment of US$31 million to the Canadian Bear Creek Mining Corporation as compensation for the 2011 resistance movement known as ‘Aymarazo.’
The Budget Commission voted against article 13 of the 03121-2017 bill on Thursday. Oracio Pacori Mamami, a lawmaker from Puno and head of the commission, warned Congress about the social upheaval passing such a bill would trigger. “We have warned the minister of economy about this danger and that’s why we left this payment suspended,” Pacori Mamami said.
Patricio Illacutipa, Aymara leader and president of the Front in Defense of Natural Resources of the southern region in Puno, had threatened authorities with a mass mobilization if the “unjust” bill was passed: “As a people, we’re already organizing for a second Aymarazo. We’re just waiting for an answer from Congress.”
Bear Creek obtained six mining licenses for its Santa Ana Project, which aimed to extract 63 million ounces of silver a year in the Huacullani and Kelluyo districts.
Locals, however, argued the mines would affect the environment and pollute the Desaguadero River and Lake Titicaca, and in 2011 organized the Aymarazo protest.
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