McGill Research Group Investigating
Canadian Mining in Latin America

Cordillera del Cóndor, Peru

Key Data

Company:Dorato Peru Operational status:concession suspended, exploration continues Materials extracted:copper Type of mine:open pit Main issues:indigenous rights, biodiversity


In 1999 the Peruvian government declared the Cenepa and Nieva districts in Condorcanqui province as reserved zones, and then in 2007 made the districts into a full national park[ii].  In October of 2001 a concession was given to the mining company Afrodita SAC (the Peruvian subsidiary of Canadian company Dorato Gold) despite the fact that the local ecology is incompatible with mining activity[iii].  This move lead to widespread protest by the Awajun and Wampis indigenous nations against mining activity on their national homeland, an area of great ecological importance in the Peruvian Amazon[iv].  In March 2007 representatives from the two nations traveled to Lima to demand that the government honour their commitment to protect indigenous land, likening their struggle to that faced by the Shuar people in neighbouring Ecuador (the two communities are next to each other and are both threatened by Canadian mining operations)[v].

In 2007 the area was declared a national park by the García government[vi], however at the last minute the Peruvian government cut out 70,000 hectares of land from the reserve to allow for mining operations to take place[vii]. Environmentalists claim the area is extremely ecologically sensitive and not fit for mining[viii]. In December of 2009 the Peruvian NGO CooperAcción called on the Minster of Energy and Mines to stop mining in region, warning that the government risked a violent uprising such as the one that had occurred in Bagua earlier in June in which protests by indigenous groups over mining and oil exploitation in the region left 31 dead and 155 wounded[ix] [x]. After protests began again on 19th of Feburary, 2010 the government suspended Dorato’s concession, saying that the company had failed to win the support of the community[xi].  The manager of Afrodita, Jorge Bedoya Torrico, told the press that they would suspend activities, stating however, that the company had complied with all the guidelines the government had given them [xii]. Nevertheless, locals claim that the company continues exploration, operating from a former military base, a claim denied by the government[xiii]. Local leader Zebelio Kayap of the Organización de Desarrollo de las Comunidades Fronterizas del Cenepa (ODECOFROC) also points out that it is illegal under Article 71 of the Peruvian Constitution for a foreign company to operate in close proximity to the border, rendering Dortao’s activities unconstitutional and a violation of Peruvian sovereignty[xiv]. Following renewed protests and pressure from local indigenous groups, on the 13th of December, 2011 the Peruvian Congress said it would investigate possible environmental abuses in the region perpetuated by the company.[xv]

[i] Minera“Afrodita`opera ilegalmente desde base militar. No a la Mina. 26th of July, 2010. http://www.noalamina.org/mineria-latinoamerica/mineria-peru/minera-qafroditaq-opera-ilegalmente-desde-base-militar

[ii] Minera Afrodita invade la amazonía peruana en busca de oro y cobre. OCMAL. June, 2010. http://www.olca.cl/ocmal/ds_conf.php?nota=Conflicto&p_busca=173

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] El Cenepa tras de la Guerra. La Republica. 26th of March, 2007. http://www.larepublica.pe/26-03-2007/el-cenepa-tras-la-guerra

[vi] La Cordillera del Cóndor ya es la Reserva Nacional Ichigkat Muja. La Republica. 12th of August, 2007. http://www.larepublica.pe/12-08-2007/la-cordillera-del-condor-ya-es-la-reserva-nacional-ichigkat-muja

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] El Cenepa tras de la Guerra. La Republica. 26th of March, 2007. http://www.larepublica.pe/26-03-2007/el-cenepa-tras-la-guerra

[ix] Aprueban actividad minera y provocan a indígenas Awajún-Wampis. No a la Mina. 18th of December, 2009. http://www.noalamina.org/mineria-latinoamerica/mineria-peru/aprueban-actividad-minera-y-provocan-a-indigenas-awajun-wampis

[x] Deadly clashes in Peru`s Amazon. BBC News. 5th of June, 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8086595.stm

[xi] Suspenden actividades de minera Afrodita. No a la Mina. 18th of Feburary, 2010. http://www.noalamina.org/mineria-latinoamerica/mineria-peru/suspenden-actividades-de-minera-afrodita

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] Servindi, 10.07.2009: Perú: Mineras se asientan en Cordillera del Cóndor

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] Congreso investigará a minera Afrodita. La Republica. 13th of December, 2011. http://www.larepublica.pe/13-12-2011/congreso-investigara-minera-afrodita