Mining, environment and communities in Peru : two case studies on Canadian investment


University of British Columbia

Date Issued


Document Type



Master of Laws - LLM




This thesis is an attempt to propose a reform in the Peruvian mining environmental legislation. To that end, it describes and analyzes the participation of different stakeholders that have contributed to the development of the current Peruvian mining industry, describes international and domestic environmental standards and their relevance for the international and Peruvian mining industry, describes pollution prevention legal tools - with special emphasis on those that are part of the Peruvian legislation, and presents two case studies of Canadian investment in Peru. Chapter One describes the participation of different stakeholders: the Peruvian government, domestic and foreign mining corporations, environmental nongovernmental organizations, and local communities and indigenous peoples. This chapter analyzes the involvement of each of those stakeholders in the new challenges that international environmental law is posing to the mining industry related to international issues, sustainable development, mining corporation's operations and civil society concerns. Chapter Two explores the relevance of certain international documents, treaties and international environmental principles for the mining industry. It concludes that although most of these principles are incorporated in the Peruvian mining environmental legislation, their application is more a theory rather than a reality. This chapter also describes two international management systems related to environmental protection and enumerates some international mining corporations that have adopted it. Chapter Three describes various legal tools that mining environmental regulators have utilized to develop pollution prevention legal frameworks, and evaluates Peruvian mining environmental legislation to determine if those specific legal tool have been adopted. This chapter concludes that it is necessary to develop a pollution prevention framework in Peru rather than to rely continue to rely on the establishment of maximum permissible levels of pollution. Chapter Four confronts theory with reality. In an effort to reinforce with real cases what has been theoretically analyzed in the previous chapters, it presents two case studies, Manhattan and Antamina. These cases reveal the lack of an adequate public participation policy and support the conclusion that social and environmental conflicts are a direct consequence of the absence of adequate mining environmental legislation in Peru. This chapter describes the organization of civil society in the Manhattan case, to express economic, social and environmental concerns, imposing a new challenge to the Peruvian mining industry. Chapter Five summarizes the conclusions of each chapter and, in particular, of the case studies of Chapter Four, enumerating the lessons of these cases for the Peruvian government, the mining environmental authorities, the mining companies attempting to invest in Peru, and the local communities and indigenous peoples. The main conclusion is the need to implement a, reform of Peruvian mining environmental legislation, aiming to take away the decision-power regarding environmental protection from mining companies.

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