EARTHblog » Ross Geredien
January 30, 2014
I spent nearly a week in Peru’s Cajamarca region in spring of 2013 investigating the controversy around the proposed Conga Mine, which sits atop a plateau nearly 4,000 meters above sea level north of the city of Cajamarca, Perú. The plateau is a massive dome of uplifted metamorphic and sedimentary rock rich valuable minerals like gold, copper and molybdenum. Lower in elevation than other parts of the Peruvian Andes, however, the area lacks snow and ice. The hydrology instead is rain-fed, nourishing high-altitude grasslands called jalgas, as well as alpine lakes and wetlands, or bofedales. These lakes and wetlands are the headwaters of all the streams, rivers, and drinking water for the surrounding areas, including most of Cajamarca’s 250,000 residents.