Peru ready to roll with ‘prior consultation’ mining law

Peru's long-awaited enrolment of indigenous communities needed to move forward with the country’s new mining law has been completed, said deputy minister of intercultural relations, Ivan Lanegra.

In a TV interview with Canal N (in Spanish), Lanegra said the ministry has identified and registered 52 local communities, which now will have their say in each and every mining project potentially affecting them, as specified in the country's prior consultation law passed by Peru’s Congress in August 2011.

In April last year Peru’s President Ollanta Humala gave his blessing to the country’s prior consultation law, designed to comply with the International Labour Organization's (ILO) agreement on the rights of indigenous communities to participate in development projects on their land.

Under the regulation, companies and local communities must reach agreements that make investment projects compatible with the customs of the indigenous population within 120 calendar days.

The outcome of the consultation process will not be binding unless an agreement is reached between the parties involved.

Mining companies saw increasing social opposition to their projects in the South American country last year and the new consultation law could help to reactivate these actions.

Delays to mining projects in Peru have put a dent in the country's investment portfolio. Currently, over 135 projects, worth $7.5 billion, are stalled due to environmental and social concerns.

(Image of indigenous Peruvian woman at Colca Canyon, by danieleb80)

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