Chinese mining companies violate human, environmental and economic rights

Chinese mining companies violate human, environmental and economic rights

China’s leadership in the processing and refining of minerals (copper, nickel and cobalt) for the transition to renewable energy is undeniable. But Chinese companies have committed more than a hundred human rights and environmental abuses in 18 countries, according to a report by the NGO Information Center on Business and Human Rights. Regarding the case of the Las Bambas mines in Peru, RFI interviewed Julia Cuadros, founder of the NGO Cooper-Acción.

Las Bambas is a copper mine located in the provinces of Cotabambas, in the department of Apurímac, in southern Peru, which employs thousands of people. Most of them come from outside the region. Since 2016, the MMG company, owned by the Chinese Minmetals Corporation, has been operating that mine, after having bought it from a Swiss company.

MMG’s slogan is “We mine for progress” (‘Mining for progress’). Since it acquired the mine, the Chinese company has been in the crosshairs of local ONEGES. They are the ones who supplied the data to the Information Center on Business and Human Rights for the report that this NGO has just published. In the case of Las Bambas, the NGO Cooper-Acción denounces a violation at three levels. The first of these concerns fundamental human rights.

“Following an agreement signed between the mining company and the Peruvian National Police in 2015 and 2016, the police fired on protesters and killed four people,” Julia Cuadros, a founding partner of Cooper-Action, told RFI. According to her, this case highlights two problems: “On the one hand, the Peruvian State allows its national police to provide security services to companies, which is unconstitutional, even though there is an unconstitutional law. And the other, the responsibility of the company in requesting that people be shot. As for the reparation that should exist, this is not given until it is determined whose responsibility it is. We have been in an endless trial for ten years,” Cuadros points out.

The second level of violation is that of environmental rights. “Environmental accidents have occurred, but we cannot prove that there has been a water contamination because the Water Authority and the Environmental Enforcement Authority arrive after two months of a tailings spill. At that time, already There is no contaminated water because the river has carried it away. So there is no investigation. But the environmental issue there is more related to the transport of the mineral that comes from the mountains to the port of Matarani. The road is not paved, 300 trucks pass through daily, and then the dust produced by the unpaved quarry affects people, crops, animals, water. So that’s when we talk about contaminated water,” explains Julia Cuadros.

And the last level of violation has to do with economic rights. Although a part of the taxes should go to the region, they do not arrive because the State grants tax benefits to companies and the part of the company’s profits that should be invested locally does not arrive either, according to Julia Cuadros: “The company does not want to First he said yes, then he said no, the thing is, at the end of the day, it’s not working.”

The NGO Cooper-Accion also denounces that every time they have tried to speak with the Chinese authorities, they have always obtained a silent response.

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Written by Editor TLN

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