Letter urging Newmont to heed community concerns
Published: April 19, 2011
By: Ray Offenheiser, Jennifer Krill
Full letter text:
April 19, 2011
Richard T. O'Brien
President and CEO
Newmont Mining Corporation
6363 South Fiddler's Green Circle Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Dear Mr. O'Brien,
We are writing to express our concern about recent statements and actions by Newmont Mining Corporation to develop gold mining operations at Cerro Quilish in Peru. This decision is surprising and alarming to us, given the considerable opposition of local communities to the project, the spiritual significance of the Cerro Quilish mountain to the region's residents, and the projected impacts to the critical watershed.
In 2004, Newmont suspended plans to develop Cerro Quilish after many months of sustained opposition from communities in the region. This decision was commended by Peruvian and international civil society groups as well as by investors, who noted the sizable financial losses your company faced as a result of the lengthy conflict.
In your Now and Beyond report published in 2005, Newmont recognized that community concerns regarding Cerro Quilish had not been adequately heeded. Following a 2007 shareholder resolution, your company undertook a review of community relationships (CRR) at active mine sites, with a final report published in 2009. In the final report, Newmont stated a welcome commitment to the principle of free, prior and informed consent.
We urge Newmont to heed community concerns and the recommendations of its consultants and staff by immediately suspending plans to develop Cerro Quilish. We call on your company to implement the recommendations of the CRR and the Advisory Panel by establishing a concrete timeline to resolve community concerns at existing and proposed operations, greater accountability to communities, and an ongoing advisory and oversight mechanism, among other items. Finally, we urge Newmont to adopt a free, prior and informed consent policy, thereby enhancing your company's reputation as a true industry leader in the area of social and environmental responsibility.
Developing Cerro Quilish is an untenable proposal, both in terms of the financial risks represented as well as the damage to Newmont's reputation and social license. We urge your company to immediately cease all activities related to mining thismountain, which communities believe to be sacred and a critical water source, and to instead play a leadership role in the industry through a precedent-setting policy on community consent.
We would be happy to meet with you to discuss these concerns. Thank you.
Ray Offenheiser President Oxfam America
Jennifer Krill Executive Director EARTHWORKS