Community stories

Raúl Flores Mara

A typical day in the life of Raúl

Every day is a challenge for Raúl to continue fulfilling the responsibilities he has taken on. Ever since a year ago when he took helm at Cooperativa Minera Oro Sur Limata Ltda., a gold mining cooperative formed entirely by residents of Limata, he has set a clear commitment to apply good mining practices and lead as an example for the province.

He has also become a university professor of veterinary medicine, which similarly has allowed him to transmit his experience to others. He tells his students how he discovered the way to share his enthusiasm for both ranching and mining throughout his life.

Oro Sur: The Story of Southern Gold

Raúl Flores Mara has managed to combine his passion for mining with his enjoyment of ranching, two activities that drive the local economy of Limata, the rural community where he lives in the district of Ananea, in southern Peru.

Having been raised around alpaca and vicuña herding influenced Raúl to become trained as a veterinarian. He had observed that working with livestock was the only option left for the community, since it was not one of the small towns where mining had a big impact.

But then, when he was 27 years old, Raúl and a group of 39 other young people from the community of Limata saw that mining offered a “life-giving opportunity”. He affirmed that, “Opportunities are not to be missed. You have to take advantage of them, follow them, and devote to them your responsibility with much dedication.”

Mining in the life of Raúl

Since Raúl founded the cooperative with other Limata youth, they have maintained a close relationship, cooperating almost like family. This has allowed them to tackle the difficulties and challenges that have appeared along the way, like the struggle to “guide the members along the learning process to become a more formal mining operation, since they didn’t want to wear a helmet or work boots appropriate for mining, or they’d complain that they couldn’t work as well wearing gloves”.

Informality is no longer a word found in the language of Raúl and many other miners in the organization. The Oro Sur Limata Ltda. mining cooperative is on the mission to achieve certification under Fairmined, by “following good mining practices that will distinguish them as responsible miners, capable of working with conviction and commitment”.

Finally, the miners of Oro Sur trust that their mining traditions will be passed on to their children. They believe that mining is “a way of doing responsible work and providing opportunities to others”, in a territory where the community strikes the balance between mining gold and raising livestock.

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