Written by Jaime Borda, Executive Secretary of Red Muqui
Originally published in Spanish in November 2023 here.
Last week, through a press conference held by the PCM and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), Dina Boluarte’s government announced the launch of “Plan Unidos,” laying out 25 multisectorial proposals to reactivate the economy. The Plan has two main lines of action: the promotion of private investment and increased financial protections. Specifically regarding boosting private investment, the plan proposes to cut the red tape on existing mining projects and advance seven additional projects by 2025 with an investment of US$4.64 billion. The named mining projects include the expansion of Toromocho Phase II in Junín, and the reactivation of Antamina in Áncash. In 2024, the Yumpag (Pasco), Romina (Lima), Corani (Puno) and Chalcobamba (Apurimac) are expected to be developed. In 2025, the Zafranal project (Arequipa) will begin.
In summary, most of the above mentioned proposals form part of a portfolio of mining projects announced by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, which have been planned for several years in accordance with established regulations. However, what the mining associations are really asking for and for which they have launched an unprecedented communications campaign is to ease the administrative aspects of mining – what the business sector refers to as ‘’mining paperwork’ – to fast track projects, amalgamate environmental agencies, eliminate requirements and reduce environmental oversight in the mining sector, among other things. At the heart of it, the industry is trying to mine wherever and however it can, in the shortest time possible, and with limited participation of [affected] people. These are the reforms or changes that they are pursuing. Several of these issues will be revised, according to the announcements made by the Primer Minister Otárola and the Minister Economy and Finance, Alex Contreras.
As the Red Muqui, we are convinced that only prioritizing mining investment in the manner outlined above is not only a mistake by the government and mining associations but also runs counter to what the evidence is revealing. A wide range of organizations and experts have long pointed out that in our current reality, where we face multiple systemic crises, we have to diversify our economy and protect key and strategic resources and economic activities. For instance, we’re talking about investments in the agriculture sector. Given the real issues we face in a post-pandemic context, the food and climate crises should be the central component to any serious discussion about our country[‘s future]. The issue of water is another fundamental concern that must be addressed, given that not only will it become more scarce, conflicts around water access will become increasingly frequent. There’s not a single mention of these issues in the plans put forward by the national or regional governments
Unfortunately, the multiple announcements of economic investment in Peru do not take into account any real participation or involvement of the population and communities of the territories. Nothing more can be expected from a regime that today, governs behind the backs of people and is increasingly being rejected by the population.