Peru gives the boot to polluting US firm

LIMA: Peru’s mining, oil and energy

association (SNMPE) has said that it has expelled US mining company Doe Run from its

roster for not cleaning up its pollution problems, which environmentalists say are among the worst in the world.

“It has not shown any willingness to comply with its environmental commitments and its obligations to the country, its workers, the La Oroya population and its creditors,” SNMPE said in a statement yesterday.

Doe Run in 1997 took over La Oroya mining complex and

the Cobriza copper mine in

Peru’s central Andean mountain region, where it mines for

lead, copper, zinc, silver, gold

and a series of byproducts including sulfuric acid.

The US company’s La Oroya mining operation was listed in 2007 by the international environmental group Blacksmith Institute as the sixth worst polluted site in the world.

SNMPE said expelling Doe Run from the association would not affect its mining business, but noted that the company was presently in “a serious financial crisis.” The association said Doe Run had notified Peruvian authorities it would be unable to comply with an environmental clean-up programme it assumed when it began working in Peru.

The Energy and Mining Ministry said Doe Run had only complied with 52 per cent of the 2006 PAMA environmental program in La Oroya and needed another $160 million investment to complete it according to plan.

SNMPE said Doe Run’s “lack of interest in completing PAMA violates the association’s ethical principles and code of conduct,” earning it its expulsion.

The US mining company had already been suspended from SNPE in late June.