By: Víctor Hugo Pachas, Andean Region Manager
The document has 4 priority objectives:
- Aimed at reducing the social, labor, and environmental precariousness of small-scale mining
- Increase access to formal value chains for small-scale mining and artisanal mining activities
- Improve inter-institutional articulation and the capacities of entities linked to small-scale mining and artisanal mining
- Increase the access of small miners and artisanal miners to the ownership of the mining right and the authorization of use of the surface land.
The current situation and participation of artisanal and small-scale miners in the economic and social life of the country make it necessary to establish a general long-term policy for this sector. However, it is born without a fundamental aspect of any national policy: the resolution of conflicts resulting from extractive rights superimposed on communal land rights or small forest users and the voice of those who are not dedicated to mining but who are impacted by this activity.
As for the above, I would like to highlight the main aspects that need to be strengthened in this policy in order to ensure the effective development of MAPE in the country:
- The current policy does not contemplate any action on mining carried out in the territory of indigenous Andean or Amazonian peoples. It is not considered within mining conglomerates, despite the fact that the document consulted the Ministry of Culture and held working meetings with this sector and mentioned the guidelines of this policy with the Policy of Transversalization of the Intercultural Approach. It is known that many of the indigenous communities carry out these activities and in other cases give permission to foreigners to carry them out in their territory. It is important to take action on this point, as not doing so represents a vacuum that will continue to leave indigenous communities at the mercy of illegal miners. In addition, the active participation of the Ministry of Culture is essential to strengthening the socio-cultural perspective.
- The policy addresses the main technical and institutional problems facing the MAPE, but the very little account is taken of the circle of illegality that surrounds them. There is talk of improving access to ownership, forgetting that most of the conflicts are given by overlapping of mining rights over communal or territorial rights mining rights overlap with communal or territorial rights. It is necessary to specify how this problem originating from the Ministry of Energy and Mines will be addressed since cases of overlapping mining rights over indigenous or communal territories are known and what this derives from.
- The document speaks of social, labor, and environmental precariousness referring to the current situation of the ASM but does not mention the inequalities that generate this precariousness. The problems presented by MAPE go beyond its production plant or the mine itself; many of the problems are generated in the surrounding communities where the majority of the workers of these mines come from. It is vital that the Ministry of Education is present in this policy to generate a positive impact on mining communities through educational projects that reduce inequalities and facilitate access to opportunities to counter the reduced social impact of the policy.
- The policy lacks cultural aspects that civil organizations and indigenous communities could have contributed. It is emphasized that the opinion of the miners is important, but also that of those who do not dedicate themselves to this activity or who present resistance to it, either for idiosyncratic or conservationist issues. If the latter had been present, the issue of ownership would not have been so emphasized, as it stands in the document suggests that its ease could also generate new problems of social origin between the land-holding communities and the miners or aggravate existing ones.
- The goal is ambitious in favor of the MAPE, however, the obviousness of certain aspects such as culture could become gaps that do not allow for an explanation of phenomena that arise in the path of the implementation of the policy. It is therefore necessary to include the socio-cultural component of indigenous communities. In addition, observing its complementarity with other policies is essential to ensure the inter-institutionality so widely mentioned in the document. For example, with the National Policy on Culture to 2030 and the National Policy for Gender Equality, ensuring the active participation of other State institutions and civil society makes that there are guidelines and activities aimed at reducing inequalities that are diverse in this type of population and that end up being the source of the precariousness mentioned in the document, that impact not only miners but also their families and communities in different ways according to their age group, social and economic status.
Therefore, from our missionary objective of the Alliance for Responsible Mining, which is to positively transform the lives of mining communities, we call for the strengthening of this public policy and joint inter-institutional work to strengthen the conditions of artisanal and small-scale mining activity to contribute to the well-being of most of the families that depend on this sector in Peru.