Join us to hear responses to mining from land and community defenders from across Latin America. We will hear how Anglo American has impacted the land and livelihoods of those who have to live with the company’s operations.

Anglo American is one of the world’s largest companies, headquartered in London, UK. Originally founded in 1918 in South Africa, the company moved its offices to London in 1999. It has operations primarily in South Africa, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Canada and Australia. Its global production includes a diversity of resources, from copper, iron, nickel and manganese, to coal and diamonds. It is also the largest producer of platinum in the world.

Introducing the Defenders

”Anglo American don’t even know the names of the glaciers, Anglo American don´t understand our history, nor do they respect it. For Anglo American, the mountains and glaciers are more than anything else the place to extract”. Victoria Uranga.

Victoria Uranga is a community member of the Lo Barnechea, affected by Anglo American’s Los Bronces project in Chile. She is an environmental leader and educator, defender of nature. Director of the Mapocho Basin Defense Corporation and the Churque Ecological Center and member of the Territorial Coordination in Defense of Glaciers and the No + Anglo Chilean Movement.

In Chile, Anglo American has two operations: El Soldado and Los Bronces. The Los Bronces Integrado expansion project has been denounced by various organisations and communities in the country. This project involves the expansion of the mining corridor between the mountain range and the Valparaíso region, including an underground mine under the Yerba Loca Nature Sanctuary. In 2010, it was already clear that the Los Bronces operation directly impacted the glaciers. According to the authorities of the Environmental Impact Assessment System, this project is harmful because of its intensive and irresponsible use of water and considered a potential risk to ecosystems and people’s health. The National Institute of Human Rights considers this project to be one of the country’s socio-environmental conflicts, as mining operations cause direct damage to glaciers and would also be responsible for creating large amounts of toxic waste.

“The Passa Sete stream has lost all its native fish. Its water is no longer suitable for domestic or agricultural use”. Carlos Mitra

Carlos Mitraud is a community member of Córregos, a district in the municipality of Conceição do Mato Dentro, where Anglo American operates the Minas Rio project. Carlos is a community leader of the movement to claim against the damages caused by Anglo American. He is a representative of the Local Commission for Affected People in Córregos. For some years now, Carlos has been raising the demands of the 13 communities affected by Anglo American in Brazil.

In Brazil, residents of the state of Minas Gerais, where Anglo American operates Minas Río, fear for their safety. The Sapo dam exceeded the limits established by law. The State Attorney General’s Office filed a public civil action against Anglo American for this situation because the construction of dams is prohibited when there are communities inhabiting the rescue areas. Downstream of the dam reside the communities of São José do Jassém, Água Quente and Passa Sete. In addition, the consequences of the Minas Río operations are felt at great distances. The project includes an oil pipeline of about 530 kilometres. This pipeline is used to transport large volumes of iron ore, and requires large amounts of water. Local communities condemn the worsening water crisis, as this situation has also caused the contamination of rivers and the destruction of springs.

“Those of us confronting the corporations are few. We can not rely on NGOs because some of them have been influenced by mining corporations’ money.” Lourdes Huanca

Lourdes Huanca is president of the National Federation women FENMUCARINAP (National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Indigenous, Native and Wage-earning Women of Peru) has been visiting Europe to draw attention to the urgent human rights situation in her home country.  She addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 23 March.

In Peru, Anglo American’s Quellaveco copper mine has been linked to polluting metals found in the Asana river basin and other rivers on which the population depends on for water consumption. An environmental assessment in the area of Quellaveco Mining Project carried out in 2017 and 2018 found that the concentrations of sediments in all the streams and rivers in the area exceeded the values of the Internal Sediment Quality Guide (ISQG) and/or the Canadian Standard Probable Effect Level (PEL) for arsenic, cadmium, copper, chromium, mercury, lead, and zinc. Laboratory studies (2019 – 2021) confirm the presence of heavy metals in the blood of local children.