GEP  Vol.8 No.5 , May 2020
The Case for Integrative Sustainable Development Practice Based on the Minas Conga Gold-Mining Experience in Peru
Abstract: Mining projects are among the most impactful development projects, and the most controversial. The Conga Mining Project, proposed by the U.S. based Newmont Mining Corporation, in partnership with Minas Buenaventura, was slated for the Cajamarca region of Peru. Since the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was completed in 2010, controversy has escalated: public protests have precipitated a political crisis for President Humala, with several ministers resigning. The proposed project would have been made located approximately 73 km northeast of the city of Cajamarca, in the northern Peruvian Andes, in the district of Sorochuco, within an area defined by four major lakes, headwaters of rivers, and wetlands. Despite findings of “no significant impact” by the 2010 EIA, the project is currently postponed indefinitely due to the public backlash, international attention, and questions of integrity surrounding environmental and social concerns. We use the Conga Mining case to interrogate business-as-usual (BAU) design, assessment, planning, implementation and monitoring practices for extractive development in Peru, and suggest alternatives. Our analysis is based on an integrative framework that is empirically based (previously developed by the authors), one with a greater likelihood of improving sustainable development and the equity of positive and negative impacts among stakeholders. Suggestions are tailored to the setting: we pay special attention to the climate-change and socio-political contexts of Peru. We seek to exploit a shifting political landscape that is resisting BAU and countering the systematic disenfranchisement of vulnerable populations by extractive resource industries. These appear to be enabling conditions to promote the adoption of a capacity building, socio-technical enterprise approach to framing and designing sustainable development projects in Peru, with implications beyond.
Cite this paper: Downs, T. , Roa, A. , Dixon, K. , Duff, P. , Pasay, E. and Silverfine, H. (2020) The Case for Integrative Sustainable Development Practice Based on the Minas Conga Gold-Mining Experience in Peru. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 8, 17-40. doi: 10.4236/gep.2020.85002.

[1]   Armstrong, R., Baillie, C., Fourie, A., & Rondon, G. (2014). Mining and Community Engagement in Peru. Communities Telling Their Stories to Inform Future Practice. Unpublished Report.

[2]   Bamberger, M. (1988). The Role of Community Participation in Development Planning and Project Management. Report of a Workshop on Community Participation (pp. 1-50). The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank.

[3]   BankTrack (2012). Minas Conga Peru.

[4]   Bebbington, A., & Williams, M. (2008). Water and Mining Conflicts in Peru. Mountain Research and Development, 28, 190-195.

[5]   Bebbington, A., Bury, J., Humphreys-Bebbington, D., & Lingan, J. (2008). Mining and Social Movements: Struggles over Livelihood and Rural Territorial Development in the Andes. World Development, 36, 2888-2905.

[6]   Bury, J. (2004). Livelihoods in Transition: Transnational Gold Mining Operations and Local Change in Cajamarca, Peru. The Geographical Journal, 170, 78-91.

[7]   Bury, J. (2005). Mining Mountains: Neoliberalism, Land Tenure, Livelihoods, and the New Peruvian Mining Industry in Cajamarca. Environment and Planning, 37, 221-237.

[8]   CAO (Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman for International Finance Corporation) (2014). CAO Assessment Report Regarding Local Concerns in Relation to IFC’s Yanacocha Project (#2983) in Cajamarca, Peru (pp. 1-9).

[9]   Chambers, R. (1995). Rural Development: Putting the Last First. Harlow, UK: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.

[10]   Chambers, R. (1997). Whose Reality Counts?: Putting the First Last. London: Intermediate Technology.

[11]   Chambers, R. (2008). Revolutions in Development Inquiry. London: Earthscan.

[12]   CIA (2016). World Factbook. South America: Peru.

[13]   CIEL (2015). Environmental Risks and Human Rights Violations in Peru Mining in Celendin. Center for International Environmental Law.

[14]   Downs, T. J. (2001). Making Sustainable Development Operational: Integrated Capacity Building for the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector in Mexico. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 44, 525-544.

[15]   Downs, T. J. (2007). A Systematic Integrated Approach for Crafting Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development Projects. Natural Resources Forum-United Nations Sustainable Development Journal, 31, 35-50.

[16]   Downs, T. J. (2008). Transforming Impact Assessment for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication. Journal of Engineering Sustainability, 116, 39-54.

[17]   Downs, T. J. (2018). An Integrative Socio-Technical Enterprise Approach to Urban Design/Planning for Sustainable Development. Open Journal of Civil Engineering, 8, 183-204.

[18]   Downs, T. J., & Mazari-Hiriart, M. (2017). Addressing Risk Conundrums in Megacity Development: Mexico City. In R. Kasperson (Ed.), Risk Conundrums: Solving Unsolvable Problems (276 p.). New York: Earthscan/Routledge.

[19]   Downs, T. J., Carr, E., & Goble, R. (2017). Addressing Risk Conundrums in Sustainable Development. In R. Kasperson (Ed.), Risk Conundrums: Solving Unsolvable Problems (276 p.). New York: Earthscan/Routledge.

[20]   GEF (2016). The Global Environment Facility.

[21]   Gifford, B., & Kestler, A. (2008). Toward a Theory of Local Legitimacy by MNEs in Developing Nations: Newmont Mining and Health Sustainable Development in Peru. Journal of International Management, 14, 340-352.

[22]   Hallman, B. (2015). How One Woman Is Standing Up to a Gold Mining Goliath. The Huffington Post.

[23]   Hallman, B., & Olivera, R. (2015). Gold Rush: How the World Bank Is Financing Environmental Destruction. The Huffington Post.

[24]   Hilson, G., & Murck, B. (2000). Sustainable Development in the Mining Industry: Clarifying the Corporate Perspective. Resources Policy, 26, 227-238.

[25]   INDC/Peru (2015). Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. Republic of Peru.

[26]   Jamasmie, C. (2016). Community Opposition Forces Newmont to Abandon Conga project in Peru.

[27]   Javier A, Y. (2008). A Thoroughly Modern Resource Curse? The New Natural Resource Policy Agenda and the Mining Revival in Peru (pp. 1-51). Center for the Future State, Institute of Development Studies.

[28]   LEAP (2015). The Leap Manifesto.

[29]   Meadow, A., Ferguson, D., Guido, Z., Horangic, A., & Owen, G. (2015). Moving toward the Deliberate Coproduction of Climate Science Knowledge. American Meteorological Society.

[30]   Moran, R. (2012). The Conga Mine, Peru: Comments on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Related Issues (pp. 1-28.). Report Prepared for Environmental Defender Law Center.

[31]   Newmont (2017). 2017 Sustainability Report: Beyond the Mine.

[32]   PIIC (Plataforma Inter-Institucional Celendina) (2013). Call to Action in Support of the Rondas Campesinas.

[33]   Slocum, N. (2003). Participatory Methods Toolkit: A Practitioner’s Manual (pp. 1-167.). King Baudouin Foundation and the Flemish Institute of Science and Technology Assessment.

[34]   Smith, D. N. (1988). Flora and Vegetation of the Huascarán National Park, Ancash, Perú, with Preliminary Taxonomic Studies for a Manual of the Flora. PhD. Dissertation, Ames, IA: Iowa State University.

[35]   Triscritti, F. (2013). Mining, Development and Corporate-Community Conflicts in Peru. Community Development Journal, 48, 437-450.

[36]   UN (2014). In Peru, Where Evidence of Climate Change Is Abundant, Hope for a Solution Is, too. United Nations.

[37]   UN/DESA (2016). Back to Our Common Future. Sustainable Development in the 21st Century (SD21) Project.

[38]   UNDRIP (2008). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

[39]   Vela-Almeida, D., Kuijk, F., Wyseure, G., & Kosoy, N. (2016). Lessons from Yanacocha: Assessing Mining Impacts on Hydrological Systems and Water Distribution in Cajamarca Region, Peru. Water International, 41, 426-446.

[40]   Vuille, M., & Francou, B. (2008). Climate Change and Tropical Andean Glaciers: Past, Present and Future. Earth Science Reviews, 89, 79-96.

[41]   WWF (2010). Study of the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Conga Mining Project in Cajamarca, Peru. World Wildlife Fund, Netherlands.