Protests Shut Down Conga Project in Peru
Beginning in October 2011, anti-Conga protesters expressed concerns about per-ceived impacts of the project on the local water supply. The Conga environmental impact assessment was approved by Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines in 2010 after review by 12 government agencies. Project planning calls for four water storage reser-voirs to replace four lakes impacted on the Conga property. Newmont reports that these reservoirs would have the capacity to store more than twice the water currently in the lakes, and water from the reservoirs would be available to downstream users on a year-round basis.
“The proposal to replace four lakes on the Conga property with the water storage reservoirs addresses the needs of farmers, who currently face an unreliable water sup-ply during the dry season, by providing a reliable, year-round supply of water. Conga’s environmental management plan includes the protection of water quality during pro-ject construction and operation,” Newmont said in a statement issued December 8.
The protesters remained unconvinced.
The Government of Peru, headed by recently elected President Ollanta Humala, was trying to find a middle road to resolv-ing the issue; but as of late December no resolution was in sight, and construction at the Conga project was still shut down.