The Social and Environmental Impact of Mega-extractive Industries, from Latin America to Ireland

As part of the Latin America Week (4th – 13th April), a meeting to raise awareness of the issues around unsustainable exploitation of natural resources is being organised by the Latin American Solidarity Centre in conjunction with community leaders in Leitrim.

Presentation in Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon on Thursday, April 11th at 8 pm.

 Photo: Mining in Peru:  Wikimedia Commons Images

With the rise of the price of oil, gold and coal, a global scramble for natural resources has been unleashed by mega-extractive multinational corporations, with repercussions from Latin America’s unsustainable open cast mining to Ireland’s fracking proposals.

 The meeting will focus on examples from Colombia and Peru, presented by two community leaders, to see the impact on the communities and how they organise to face this threat. This will open up debate around the campaign against fracking in Ireland and discussion about the similarities and difference.  Campaigners against fracking are supporting this visit to Leitrim and hosting the speakers during 11th and 12th April.

 According to LASC coordinator “Given the current crisis affecting communities all across Ireland, the Latin American experience is insightful and full of valuable lessons of resilience, resistance and creativity”. Our emphasis is not only on the impact of the unsustainable exploitation of resources, but on the potential for community based alternatives of development.

About the speakers

 MILTON SÁNCHEZ CUBAS. From Peru.  President of the Celendin Interinstitutional Platform (PIC), a network of 40 grassroots organisations from Celendin Department of Cajamarca, Peru. He is also the spokesperson of Comando Unitario de Lucha, which is a network of grassroots organisations whose aim is to defend the natural resources of the Region of Cajamarca which are threatened by the extractive industries operating in the region. He will talk about the La Conga mining project which is a project of the Yanacocha company. Shareholdes are Newmont (USA), Buenavertura (Perú) and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. This is the greatest mining project ever in Peru and it will impact rives, lakes which in turn will affect local agriculture and the health of 200 communities in 3 provinces.  5 people have been killed and 104 have been injured since resistance to the project began.

AIDA JULIETA QUIÑONES TORRES, Colombia – Lecturer and PhD student in Universidad Javeriana. Member of the Environmental Committee for the Defense of Life which monitors the socio-environmental impact of the La Colosa mine, in the department of Tolima, Colombia. Aida is a militant researcher on the issue of resistance to 3 mining mega-projects in Colombia.  In all three cases there is a military presence and militia which is acting illegally and escalating the conflicts.

These cases are:

  • The gold mine of La Colosa, Cajamarca-Tolima – population: small farming communities. Transnational Anglo gold Ashanti has been carrying out illegal explorations with a view to have one of the biggest open cast mines in South America. The mine is in a natural reserve.  In previous projects in this mine, a family – including a baby – was murdered by state agents.
  • Sa´th Tama Kiwe – mining concessions have been given in this indigenous ancestral land. The indigenous people have been resisting.
  • La Toma- Suarez in Cauca – mining concession given without consulting the community, which is mainly of African origin. There is also resistance form the population.