Indigenous groups in Peru’s northernmost department of Loreto issued a communqué rejecting a mining concession approved by the Mining and Metallurgical Geological Institute (Ingemmet) in the Maynas region.
The 1000-hectare concession, granted to the local company Raíces Gaddaffy, sits in the upper basin of the Nanay River, which is a tributary of the Amazon River and the main source of fresh water for 500,000 people who live in the departmental capital, Iquitos, and nearby areas.
The river has a high fish species richness, including several that are of interest to the aquarium industry.
According to the Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the East (Orpio), the river basin is already showing signs of pollution caused by more than 120 mining dredges that illegal groups have deployed.
“We want to warn the Loreto society about how badly similar experiences have turned out elsewhere, as is the case in the Madre de Dios region, where illegal mining has polluted rivers, caused local extinctions and biodiversity losses, and spurred criminal activities,” Orpio’s media statement reads. “We demand the immediate declaration of nullity of the concession as it threatens people’s lives, health and environment.”
The Indigenous group is also pressing for government action to remove the dredgers that pollute the Nanay River and another 11 Amazonian rivers.
Prior to Orpio’s release, the Loreto College of Biologists expressed a similar position and pointed out that, by granting the concession, Ingemmet breached Regional Ordinance No. 006-2003-CR/RL, which declares the Nanay River basin as “an exclusion zone for mining extraction activities and other activities that alter the vegetation.”
The College also urged research institutions and relevant organizations to prioritize studies on the accumulation of mercury in people, fish and plants in the Nanay basin.
Mining.com reached out to Ingemmet for comment on the situation but did not receive an answer by publication time.
Source : Mining.com