Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) is undermining the environment

Posted by Lynn Eisler June 21, 2013 0 Comment 1669 views


High in the Andes, a drama unfurls. Thousands of demonstrators protested against Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM)’s $5B gold project. On Monday, they circled the high-altitude LakePerol and vowed to make NEM stop the eventual draining of the lake even as it is making plans to set up the most expensive mine in Peru. LakePerol is one of numerous lakes that will eventually have to be displaced to make way for ore mining operations of the Conga project. The American company and Buenaventura, its Peruvian partner is either in the process of or planning on constructing four reservoirs to accommodate water from the lakes.

Both the companies are saying that these reservoirs will be beneficial for the region

and put a stop to seasonal water shortages. They will be a guarantee of round-the-year water supply to surrounding towns and farmers. However, most residents fear that the mine will cause pollution and also that they would lose control of the lake water.

Their logic is simple and irrefutable. When they already have the lakes to supply water to them, why would they want to be dependent on a company for water supply? The protestors are hoping that their show of strength will make an impact and the government and the company will discontinue the project.

Precious metal- more precious environment

Gone are the days when any mining company could simply barge in, set up shop, mine all it wants and also thereafter take up land rehabilitation efforts. There are several cases of gold mining projects having ravaged landscapes, contaminating the ecosystem with toxic waste and caused large-scale water pollution. Mercury and cyanide are two extremely toxic substances. Dirty gold mining practices have released these substances freely into the surroundings.

Water

For centuries, water pollution has been a major hazard of gold mining operations. In the 19th century, mining prospectors used processes that continue to show their effects to this day. Fish in the San Francisco Bay and in Sacramento still display high mercury levels. Most modern gold-mining methods, consume large quantities of fresh water and damage water bodies in the area. Acid mine drainage raises acidity-levels in lakes and rivers, kills wildlife, and also poisons drinking-water supplies. It seems like Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) is going to have a tough time with convincing the Peruvian people to let-up on their protests.


About Lynn Eisler

Lynn Eisler is a national news reporter focusing on economic issues, data analysis and the financial health of state and local governments. Lynn has been honored with the H.L. Mencken Award for Investigative Reporting, the Champion of Justice Award for reporting on the drug war, and the John Hancock Award for business reporting. Lynn was also a Knight Medical School Fellow at the University of Michigan.

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