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May 8, 2017

First-hand data over the rivers basins in Cerro de Pasco, Perù

Source International is ready to show you the environmental results analysis of the 16 water samples taken during September 2016: useful data to understand the environmental quality state of Cerro de Pasco and surroundings.

Where did we sampled water?

  • Tap water in private house in Paraghsa (community closed to the open pit and mining plants) and in Cerro de Pasco.
  • Two natural lagoons converted into mining waste pools: Quiulacocha and Yanamate
  • 4 points on San Juan River(also affected by the gold mine AUREX and a polymetallic one, BROCAL) that flows into the lake Junin, NationalPark.
  • 3 points on Tingo River, which it spring on the back of the city and where the municipality,together with the mining company, have covered its source with wastes.
  • 3 points on Huallaga River that received mining waste of other mines too along its path.
  • 2 points of the mining water waste near the mining plants in Paraghsa community.

The water analysis were performed in a certified European laboratory, according to the international standard and laws.

What do we found? How is the environmental water quality near the mining city Cerro de Pasco? Which are the main pollutants presented there and which risks for the population?

  • Quiulacocha and Yanamate lakes represent the symbol of this gigantic ecological disaster caused by long term minerals extraction in the area. These natural areas, part of the fragile and unique Andean ecosystem, are converted into sites without life. They are sources of high and serious risk for the population, the environment and biodiversity because of their high toxicity that has risen since our last studio in 2009. The pH of these lakes is around 2 (that mean 10.000 times the normal) and we have recorded high levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, chrome, iron, copper, manganese, zinc.

The iron concentration is 6000 times over the national law limit! The manganese is 2200 times more than the Peruvian law level.

Dust mining waste are transported by wind in the area, expanding the impact radius of mining activities.

  • San Juan River is polluted by heavy metals with high concentration near the gold mine AUREX, endangering the survivor of aquatic life. This water should not be used neither for agricultural activities.
  • The Junin Lagoon received the mining contamination of the San Juan, compromising the conservation and protection of this natural wetland.
  • Tingo and Huallaga rivers are contaminated too with heavy metals, whose concentrations reduce a bit away from the mine, demonstrating that the mine is the responsible of it.
  • The mining waste water is polluted by aluminum, iron, arsenic, lead and zinc and it flows direct into the rivers without being purified or treated.
  • Fortunately, but apparently strange, the tap water is drinkable.

After more than 100 years of the first mining installation in Cerro de Pasco, human rights violations persist! Right to water, to live in a healthy environment, and to health are nor respected nor protected. The Peruvian government and the mining companies, in particular the company Cerro S.A.C, a subsidiary of the mining company Volcan S.A.A, are violating the RIGHT TO LIFE of more than 70,000 people.

Stay tune for the second part of the health study on children’s hair analysis.

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