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By Alejandro Zegarra Pezo
Without a doubt, open-pit mining in a region as fragile as our northern Andes will deplete and irreversibly pollute our water reserves. In a very short time it will destroy a set of ecosystems that took thousands of years to develop, it will totally eliminate our super pharmacy and will extinguish dozens of species even without having known them.
The large basins in which Piura's biodiversity and agricultural activity are concentrated are those of the Chira, Piura and Huancabamba rivers. In a scenario of various mining companies operating in many sites with open pits, the inevitable future is the desertification of this agrarian region and the consequent extinction of many wild birds.
More than 600 mining concessions in an area of approximately 800,000 ha of Piura (34,403 km2 in total extension). First were the problems generated by the Manhattan Mine, Sechura, a subsidiary of Manhattan Minerals of Canada, which tried to exploit open pit mines under the town of Tambogrande (Piura, Peru) and the San Lorenzo Valley, one of the most fertile in Peru and without a social license. The population was fiercely opposed in defense of their land and our Ministry of Energy and Mines (and other authorities), withdrew their support for Manhattan, Sechura, which has taken this case to international arbitration.
Today it is about the pernicious claims of the Majaz mining company, a subsidiary of the Monterrico Metals of England, which intends to exploit the Río Blanco mining project (open pit copper exploitation and today in the process of feasibility in the area) in the headwaters of this river in the district of Carmen de la frontera, communities of Segunda, Cajas and Yanta (Huancabamba and Yanta, Piura).
The course of the Chipillico River and its source are under complaints in the Andean area of Piura, where it takes the name of the San Pedro River, whose waters flow into the San Lorenzo Reservoir, the course of the Quiroz River whose waters flow into the Reservoir of Poechos and also the source of the Huancabamba River.
Our unique and fragile ecosystem of páramos and cloud forests of Piura, is almost entirely denounced by mining companies (there are more than 200 mining complaints only in the provinces of Ayabaca and Huancabamba). The major concessions of Minera Majaz-Monterrico Metals from England, Newmont from the USA and Minera San Jorge stand out, where we register a special, endemic and threatened biodiversity.
This is the last refuge in Peru of the almost extinct highland tapirs ( tapirus click), those who have taken refuge in the area due to its special weather and rugged geography. These living fossils, whose population does not exceed 2,500 specimens in the world (CC. Downer) and less than 500 in Peru (A. Zegarra Pezo), have taken refuge in some wild places in our Piura mountains, today denounced by miners ( Monterrico Metals and Newmont) to carry out open pit mining.
Perhaps 90% of the population of tapirus pinchaque of Peru, currently survives in the páramos and cloud forests of northwestern Peru, its special habitat will be razed to make way for open-pit mining, thus eliminating a vital ecosystem that is also home to other registered species. as endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and by the Peruvian Supreme Decree 013-99-ag.
Our tall tapirs live in harmonious co-evolution with the rarest felines in the world, the rarely sighted Andean cat. (Jacobite oreailurus), spectacled bears (tremartos ornatus), dwarf deer (pudu mephistopeles), majaz (agouti taczanowsky Y dinomiz braniickii), white-winged kettle (penelope albipennis), bearded kettle (penelope barbata), Andean condor (vultur griphus), jaguars (panther onca), Wildcat (felis colocolo), tigrillo (felis pardalis), etc. There are, in addition, many other vulnerable species, rare, without study and not yet discovered by world science.
The archeology recorded in these areas is truly impressive, some are registered and many are not yet. Despite the fact that our laws do not allow mining concessions in archaeological areas, as is the case in our Piura mountains, the miners continue with their projects, regardless of the destruction of archaeological monuments of inestimable value for world science.
The special and still healthy climate of our Piura mountains and especially of our tropical mountainous forests, have given rise to new ecological activities and for sustained development, such as the production of organic coffee, exported almost entirely to Germany by the Central Piurana de Coffee growers (Cepicafe) that groups 3700 families from the north of Peru. The production of granulated panela (organic sugar), derived from sugar cane, is today a product whose international demand has increased notably and brings together dozens of families from our mountains.
The communal company of community services La Orquídea de Cujaca, Ayabaca, is in charge of the conservation, management and commercialization of orchids. In our high lagoons of the Huaringas de Huancabamba, wise teachers of our ancestral Inca traditional medicine use products of the wild mother nature of our energetic moors and cloud forests
to perform his fantastic cures. This supreme action gives rise to a health and esoteric tourism that occupies hundreds of people from Huancabamba and annexes. In the village of El Progreso in Suyo, Ayabaca, the residents have installed the company for dairy products Blanca Nieve and
Delicious milk sweets such as custard and delicacy are made, as well as light yogurt, using goat milk whose raising is the main activity of the place. In our nearby Querecotillo (Sullana) organic bananas are produced and exported and mango exports as well as rice, corn, various cereals and all kinds of fruits is a very important economic line for thousands of families.
The wonderful fertility of our soils and the purity of our environment make it possible for any type of agricultural activity to be carried out in northern Peru with prodigious results, especially organic. However, always attacking us with their economic power, multinational mining millionaires, colluding with Peruvian authorities dazzled by an ephemeral glare, do not hesitate to try to drag us under the stormy flow of an unsustainable and finite development, trying to impose on us a scheme of artificial life and very different from ours. Without a doubt, open-pit mining in a region as fragile as our northern Andes will not only extinguish unique species in Peru such as the high-altitude tapir, but will also deplete and irreversibly pollute our water reserves. In a very short time it will destroy a set of ecosystems that took thousands of years to develop, it will totally eliminate our super pharmacy and will extinguish dozens of species even without having known them. There will be no money in the world to restore it and even less to cancel the lethality of the deadly chemical elements that rest there, thrown by the miners, always active for hundreds and hundreds of years. This is how life ends. «The Río Blanco mining project of Minera Majaz, a subsidiary of Monterrico Metals of England, currently in the feasibility phase in the Huancabamba and Ayabaca provinces, plans to extract 20 million tons of copper annually and estimates gross sale levels of this resource by 500 million dollars a year ”, according to Minera Majaz technicians.
Alejandro Zegarra Pezo
Mirror of Peru