jueves, 5 de octubre de 2017

Rusia compra oro a un ritmo récord ante las sanciones y el declive del dólar



© Sputnik/ Pavel Lisitsin



Rusia volvió a aumentar la compra de oro. Desde el comienzo del año, el ritmo de compra de metales preciosos ha batido los récords históricos, informa el diario VestiFinance.

CC0 / PIXABAY /

La alternativa al dólar que Rusia propone a sus ciudadanos

En el período de enero a septiembre, el Banco de Rusia compró 4,2 millones de onzas troy de oro por un total de más de 5.000 millones de dólares, según el Banco Central. De esta manera, Rusia compró un 15% de oro más que en el mismo período del año pasado. Al mismo tiempo, elmedio señala que el precio del oro ha aumentado en un 10% desde el comienzo del año.

El Banco Central comenzó una compra activa de oro tras la introducción de las sanciones antirrusas. Desde ese momento, el regulador ruso adquiere alrededor de 100 toneladas de oro por año, más que cualquier otro regulador del mundo.

Los expertos señalan que la compra de metales preciosos es una estrategia en el caso de que EEUU introduzca unas sanciones duras. A diferencia de los activos de las cuentas, las barras de oro no pueden ser arrestadas.

Rusia ocupa el séptimo lugar en términos de reservas de oro (1.712 toneladas), adelantado por China que dispone de 1.842 toneladas de metal precioso.


CC0 / PIXABAY/GERALT /

China, lista para cambiar las reglas de juego de EEUU en el mercado petrolero

El aumento de las reservas de oro se produce además en el contexto de posibles cambios en el mercado del petróleo, indicados por China. Como resultado, el oro puede adquirir un nuevo papel en las operaciones comerciales.

Anteriormente se informó que China se está preparando para lanzar un contrato de futuros de petróleo denominado en yuan chino con una posible conversión en oro. De hecho, esto permitirá a los exportadores de materias primas evitar el uso del dólar.

Teniendo en cuenta el hecho de que China es el mayor importador de petróleo del mundo, este contrato puede convertirse en un nuevo punto de referencia basado en Asia para los comerciantes. Actualmente, en el mercado mundial hay dos contratos de referencia de crudo —WTI y Brent—, ambos nominados en dólares estadounidenses.

Lea más: China empuja a la economía mundial a una 'fiebre del oro' que acabará con el dominio del dólar

El diario observa que la aparición de los futuros, nominados en yuan chino, permitirá a los exportadores, como Rusia e Irán, evitar el uso de dólares y, si es necesario, evitar sanciones. Además, será posible convertir el yuan en oro en las bolsas de Hong Kong y Shanghái, lo que impulsará el desplazamiento del comercio hacia Asia.

Anteriormente se informó de que Irán y Turquíadecidieron abandonar el dólar y realizar pagos recíprocos en monedas nacionales.

domingo, 1 de octubre de 2017

Mercury pollution watchdog to set up in Geneva

Geneva will play host to the body responsible for implementing a global convention to reduce mercury pollution. Some 150 countries voted in favour of the Swiss city at the first conference of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which was also staged in Geneva.

The conference also agreed on a range of measures to limit the impact of mercury extraction and industrial usage. This included guidelines to regulate artisanal gold mining and the reduction of mercury emissions. Another guideline specifies how the atmospheric mercury emissions generated by coal-fired power plants, waste incineration plants and cement plants can be reduced.

Switzerland is an important legal trader in mercury and recycler. Switzerland exported 30 tonnes of mercury last year - down from 110 tonnes per year between 2011-2015 - the government said in June.

Geneva is a centre of expertise for hazardous chemicals and waste. It is already home to the secretariats for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP), the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

On Saturday, at the end of a six-day conference, the Minamata Convention's secretariat was added to the list of agencies that Geneva will host.

Regulation changes

"The arrival of the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention will be a boost for Geneva as center of the international environment governance," said Marc Chardonnens, Director of the Federal Office for the Environment.

"The measures for reducing mercury emissions that pose a risk to health and the environment can begin," he added.

The Swiss government is expected to lay out its position by the end of the year on how to amend legislation to match the convention's objectives of reducing pollution. It will have to steer a line between environmental groups advocating a complete ban on mercury trading and the industry that is lobbying against strict regulation.

The Minamata Convention, named after a Japanese fishing town where mercury was discharged into the bay by a large chemical company between 1932 and 1968, entered into force on August 16, 2017. It was initiated by both Switzerland and Norway. So far, 79 states have ratified the convention, including the United States, China, Brazil, Indonesia, Peru and Switzerland (on May 26, 2016).

Mercury

Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal considered by the World Health Organization to be one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern.

The chemical element occurs naturally and can be released into the environment via the weathering of mercury-containing rocks, forest fires, volcanic eruptions or geothermal activities. But according to the United Nations, 90% of the 5,500-8,900 tons of mercury currently emitted or re-emitted each year to the atmosphere is man-made. It is released unintentionally from industrial processes such as coal-fired power stations, cement production, mining, waste incineration, and metallurgic activities.

Mercury is extensively used to extract gold from ore in artisanal and small-scale gold mining. It is contained in electrical switches, relays, measuring control equipment, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries and dental amalgam. Mercury is also used in laboratories, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, paints and jewellery.

jueves, 13 de julio de 2017

Mercury-Free Gold: How You Can Protect The Future By Buying This Ethical And Sustainable Jewellery

Gold mining’s association with poor health and environmental damage has been unearthed over the years - but it’s still something many of us know little about.

“People have heard about ‘blood diamonds’, but not many realise that their gold could be responsible for one of the world’s top toxic threats – mercury,” says Richard Fuller, the President of Pure Earth – a New York-based charity that helps to clean up pollution in the poorest communities in developing countries that are affected by toxins.

Mercury poisoning can cause many unpleasant symptoms including brain malfunction, slurred speech, memory loss and loss of balance.

Artisanal small-scale gold mining is the largest source of human-caused mercury pollution in the world (even more than the burning of fossil fuels), according to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Gold has long been coveted. But as our lust for the material goes unabated the industry has been steeped in accusations of exploitation, child labour and poor wages.

In turn, artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has attempted to provide an ethical overhaul by implementing hallmarks for Fairtrade and Fairmined gold to guarantee a more ethical process.

And now a spotlight has now fallen on mercury-free gold – and it’s jewellery designers who are helping to lead the way.

Miner in Burkina Faso mining for mercury-free gold.

One such designer is Kimberly McDonald, a fine jewellery designer based in New York City, US. From gemstones to diamonds and metals, she consistently demands traceability for every material she uses within a piece of jewellery.

“In this market it is no longer enough to have a beautiful one-of-a-kind product,” she told HuffPost UK.

“People want to feel comfortable with the knowledge that what they spend their money on does not come at a larger cost to the planet.

“As a brand, Kimberly McDonald could not knowingly produce pieces that originate from something that is destructive to the environment.

“We also have seen increasing interest from our clientele about how the materials we use are mined and where our pieces are manufactured.”

Gold mines are mainly situated in developing countries – such as Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Indonesia – and they can be a dangerous environment to work in.

Due to a lack of high-tech equipment available in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), the danger here can be even higher due to the use of toxic chemicals like mercury to extract the gold.

Mercury use in Nigeria.

“The largest source of global mercury emissions comes from artisanal gold mining, which produces up to a quarter of the world’s gold,” said Fuller.

“Because mercury travels, it is everyone’s problem. From poor miners and their communities who are directly poisoned, to families eating contaminated fish living half a world away.

“But the good news is that we are all part of the solution.”

The detrimental effects of mercury on the human body can be extensive.

“We’ve learned a lot about how this mercury effects us and our children from reported exposures to mercury over the last 100 years,” wrote physician Mark Hyman, in a blog hosted on HuffPost in 2011, entitled ‘Mercury: How To Get This Lethal Poison Out Of Your Body’.

“The symptoms and diseases these exposures have caused are varied and mimic many other conditions. Nervous system toxicity can cause erethism (‘mad hatter syndrome’) with symptoms of shyness; laughing, crying, and dramatic mood swings for no apparent reason; nervousness, insomnia, memory problems, and the inability to concentrate.

And the list continues: “Other neurologic symptoms may include encephalopathy (non-specific brain malfunction), nerve damage, Parkinsonian symptoms, tremor, ataxia (loss of balance), impaired hearing, tunnel vision, dysarthria (slurred speech), headache, fatigue, impaired sexual function, and depression.”

An amalgam of mercury mixed with gold.

The process involved in using mercury to extract gold has been linked to causing health issues for miners. According to a report by The Artisanal Gold Council (AGC), 10 to 15 million people are directly involved with ASGM.

However, sourcing a strong statistic of how many people are truly involved in ASGM hasn’t been easy.

“Estimating the number is not a simple task because it is largely an informal or poorly understood economic sector - often with little government contact and occurring in many remote regions,” explains Dr Kevin Telmer, executive director of Canada’s Artisanal Gold Council - who work to improve the health, economy an environment in AGSM.

“ASGM is a big and important livelihood. It’s a 20 billion dollar primary economy.

“It is practiced directly by 10 million people and supports a population of 100 million people in more than 80 countries.

“Every time we have had the opportunity to look more closely and collect more robust information, the estimate has risen.

“This is not because there are necessarily more and more people involved but also because of better information and understanding.”

Due to a lack of high-tech equipment, miners may use a dangerous method for extraction: the process of amalgamation – which is when gold comes in contact with mercury and the two mix to form a compound called an amalgam.

After the gold dissolves into the mercury, small gold particles are left. During this process, the burning of mercury releases harmful chemicals into the air which are not only toxic for humans, but also the environment and wildlife.

But changes are being made for a safer process.

“The biggest development to change the practice of using mercury to mine gold is the Minamata Convention on mercury - a UN Environment treaty signed by the world’s governments,” explains Dr. Kevin Telmer.

“Under the Minamata Convention, countries have agreed to introduce mercury-free technology to assist artisanal and small-scale miners to use alternative and more profitable techniques.

“This serves the double purpose of eliminating mercury pollution while still providing what is broadly recognised by world bodies as an important livelihood supporting around 100 million poor people in more than 70 countries.”

Shaking table introduced by AGC in Burkina Faso to recover gold without the use of mercury.

But with consumers – specifically millennials - demanding change, some jewellery designers are already actively sourcing mercury-free gold.

Kimberly McDonald is not the only designer who shares that pioneering mindset.

Pamela Love, a fine jewellery designer from New York City, has visited Suriname in South America to meet with their government and policy makers – who are working to restructure their gold mining industry.

“In Suriname, there were medium scale mines and small scale artisanal mines who were working in the rainforest and releasing mercury into the environment,” explained Love.

“The goal was, and is, to move these artisanal miners out of the virgin rainforest and into areas that are zoned for gold mining.

“They also are working to educate small-scale miners on the dangers of mercury in gold mining, to their health, as well as to the rainforest, and provide them with alternative methods of mining that are safer for them, the environment and ultimately yield more gold.

“This type of education is so important to our health, and our planet’s health.”

Artisanal gold produced in Burkina Faso.

A jewellery manufacturer – who wishes to remain anonymous - explained to HuffPost UK the need for traceability – from mine to manufacturer.

“To ensure that we are actually using mercury-free gold, as a manufacturer, we use suppliers that are independently certified,” the manufacturer explained.

″We work with vendors that have received certifications from their suppliers, verifying that they only source and manufacture metals and alloys from ‘DRC-Conflict Free’ mines or other domestic U.S. Sources.

“Mercury-free techniques to recover gold are safer for miners, their families and local communities.

“Mercury-free may also help miners market their gold at higher prices as awareness and consumer requests grow. Many are becoming ‘Fairminded-Certified’.

“Being a small manufacturer, we source our raw materials (precious metals, diamonds and gemstones) from suppliers that are certified. Design, assembly and finishing are done at our facility.

“As jewellers it is important for us to use more sustainable and ethical materials as it not only protects the environment, but also has a positive impact on the communities and lives of workers.”

Artisanal small-scale gold mining provides families with an opportunity to escape poverty. To completely remove or halt the process would be ineffective.

What miners need is access to better technology and working conditions. It is possible to create beautiful pieces of jewellery in a way that isn’t harmful to our planet and people.

“With Pure Earth, the UN and other organisations are training artisanal miners to go mercury-free, and with consumers and the industry demanding mercury-free artisanal gold, we will begin to see a difference,” concluded Fuller.

lunes, 1 de mayo de 2017

Peru's plans to cut air quality rules would smooth sale of major polluter

It’s a fairly common tactic in Peru to issue a significant or potentially controversial decision or resolution when you hope no one is paying attention. 24, 26 or 31 December, for example. The Environment Ministry (MINAM) recently adopted that ploy by releasing, just before the Easter week holiday, proposals to dramatically roll back certain air quality standards across the country.

The draft National Environmental Quality Standards for Air propose maintaining the maximum legal limits for nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, lead and benzene, but doubling the limit for some particulate matter. Most startling, they propose increasing the limit of sulfur dioxide by more than 12 times.

MINAM effectively claims that Peru is the global leader in sulfur dioxide limits because it is the “only country in the world” which meets World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations. That limit is 20 micrograms per cubic metre over a 24 hour averaging period, compared with 210 in Australia, 250 in Chile and Colombia, 288 in Mexico, 300 in Canada and 365 in Brazil, according to the ministry. Elsewhere in the world - although these are not acknowledged by MINAM - the limit is 150 in China, 125 in the EU, 131 in South Korea and 80 in India.

The current proposal is to raise Peru’s limit to 250. One justification is that “no clearly defined link exists” between sulfur dioxide and negative impacts on human health, MINAM claims, according to its interpretation of research by the WHO, the US’s Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada, among others.

Further justifications are that no other country in the world has a limit as stringent as 20 and adopting it was a mistake out of touch with “national reality.” It isn’t being complied with, the ministry argues, and therefore undermines the public’s faith in government and the law.

“[The 20 limit] was adopted in a very short timeframe without a solid technical and economic argument and without considering sustainable development policy that involves taking acceptable risks to public health while at the same time introducing effective strategies to reduce environmental contamination,” MINAM states.

The ministry’s proposals have met with serious concern and criticism from Peru’s Congressional Commission on the Environment, Ecology and Andean, Amazonian and Afroperuvian Peoples, NGOs, and many others. Lima-based APRODEH and the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) say that MINAM is ignoring scientific evidence of the “serious health harms” caused by both sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. These include lung problems and premature death - with children, the elderly and people with asthma being particularly vulnerable.

“There is overwhelming scientific evidence to conclude that sulfur dioxide pollution poses a serious health risk, particularly when the contamination reaches high levels over short periods of time, something the proposal does not take into account,” says AIDA’s co-director Anna Cederstav in a joint statement with APRODEH.

Both organisations argue that MINAM’s proposals violate the American Convention on Human Rights and other international treaties binding on Peru. In addition, the public consultation was “flawed”, they state, with too little time for discussion and the scientific basis for the proposals not made public.

That opinion is shared by the Congressional Commission on the Environment, which has written to Environment minister Elsa Galarza requesting a further 30 days for the public consultation process. The Commission is presided by Maria Elena Foronda, who has taken the lead in drawing public attention to the issue.

“In the Commission’s view any law that would reduce environmental quality standards requires a responsible and timely technical evaluation, as much by members of congress as civil society,” Foronda says. “It’s appropriate to point out that MINAM is trying to establish parameters that are weaker than those recommended by the WHO.”

Other NGOs like Red Muqui and the Sociedad Peruana de Desarrollo Ambiental (SPDA) have also issued critical statements. SPDA argues that the government is legally prohibited from weakening environmental standards, that MINAM failed to provide sufficient justification for its proposals, and that the WHO, contrary to the ministry’s interpretations of its research, has proved that sulfur dioxide negatively impacts human health.

According to Red Muqui, a collective of 29 organisations across Peru, the proposals are “regressive” and ignore WHO recommendations. MINAM failed to coordinate with the Health Ministry, they argue, and the timeframe for public discussion was too short.

“Life and health shouldn’t be dependent on economic interests,” Red Muqui states. “[The proposals] fail to consider that particulate matter is very fine and can easily penetrate respiratory tracts and blood, increasing the risk of morbidity and premature death following short- and long-term exposure.”

Former high-ranking MINAM personnel are critical too. Ex-Environment minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal was quoted in El Comercio newspaper saying the proposals would reduce air quality. Mariano Castro, former vice-minister, told the Guardian the proposals are “wrong”, “very risky” for Peruvians’ health, and ignore the “scientific evidence in epidemiological and toxicological studies that show the serious dangers that sulfur dioxide poses for peoples’ health.”

So why propose raising the legal limits? According to AIDA, APRODEH and anyone else following the issue, the answer is an infamous poly-metal smelter in a town in Peru’s central Andes, La Oroya, which 10 years ago was named as one of the top 10 most polluted places on earth by the US-based Blacksmith Institute.

Formally called the Metallurgical Complex of La Oroya, the smelter has been the property of Doe Run Peru, a subsidiary of the US Renco Group’s Doe Run company, since 1997. It closed in 2009 and partially re-opened in 2012. Now it is administered by liquidators - and Peru’s sulfur dioxide limits are reported to be scaring off potential investors.

This is despite the fact that La Oroya has been exempted from the national 20 limit. In recent years it was raised to 80 and then to 365 for a 14 year period until it is scheduled to revert to 80 again, according to APRODEH’s Christian Huaylinos. He told the Guardian that MINAM’s proposals are “completely connected” to the proposed Doe Run Peru sale.

“[In the long-term the limit] continues being 80, which is a very demanding standard that I imagine has discouraged possible bidders for Doe Run Peru, given that it would require serious investment in new technology,” Huaylinos says. “So that’s where the issue of relaxing the standards comes in. Now they would no longer have to adjust from 365 to 80, but 365 to 250.”

Tenders have been held for Doe Run as recently as March this year, but no offers were reportedly received. “Now, given the lack of offers, MINAM has put forward a law to relax the limits, the aim of which is to facilitate the next tender round,” Huaylinos told the Guardian. “[This would seriously affect] the rights to health and clean environment of the people living in La Oroya.”

The connection between MINAM’s proposals and Doe Run Peru also seems obvious to AIDA’s Victor Quintanilla, who told the Guardian that government representatives have said publicly that modifying environmental standards is part of promoting the smelter’s sale and re-opening. Such representatives include president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, congressman Moisés Guía Pianto, Environment minister Galarza, and Energy and Mines minister Gonzalo Tamayo.

On Friday Gestion newspaper stated that potential bidders for Doe Run Peru have been lobbying for changes to the sulfur dioxide limits - something that the Congressional Commission on the Environment has noted too. Pablo Peschiera, from DIRIGE, the liquidators, reportedly said that the next tenders will be held in July and MINAM’s proposals would save investors huge sums.

“Under the previous [current] standards an investment of US$788 million [in the smelter] had been foreseen, and even then there was no guarantee of meeting the 80 standard,” Peschiera was quoted as saying in Gestion. “There was a low probability of complying even after making that investment. Now [if MINAM’s proposals are approved], with the limit being 250, the amount needed to invest will be lower.”

Liliana Carhuaz, an Oroya resident and member of the Movimiento por la Salud de La Oroya (MOSAO), told the Guardian she rejects MINAM’s proposals and believes the sulfur dioxide limit should be 20. She said that local people didn’t agree with the suggested changes either, and she cited respiratory problems and lead poisoning as ongoing health impacts.

“After so many years of contamination in La Oroya [the ministry’s proposal] to increase the permitted levels is not just,” she says.

Last year, just before the end of the previous government, MINAM published a dossier on Doe Run which included six reasons why air quality standards shouldn’t be weakened, although it acknowledged that the contamination in La Oroya was so severe that it would be impossible for the smelter to ever meet any standards, no matter how “flexible.” The dossier cited Health Ministry statistics from 2007 saying that during some hours the sulfur dioxide levels reached 28,300 and average daily emissions were over 2,000 - which MINAM alleged was one of the reasons why Doe Run Peru hadn’t yet been sold.

“It’s clear that with daily emissions and yearly averages such as these, La Oroya, if its copper circuit is working, wouldn’t even comply with the most flexible environmental standards in the world,” stated the dossier, dated July 2016.

According to AIDA’s and APRODEH’s interpretation of recent research by Yale University, the registered level of sulfur dioxide over an average hour in La Oroya has “almost always” reached 1,000 and “very often” 2,000 or more.

“With the new proposed daily average (250 micrograms per cubic metre), it would be possible to have every day a period of two hours of contamination at a level of 1,500 and another five hours of contamination at 500 without exceeding it,” stated AIDA and APRODEH in comments sent to MINAM as part of the public consultation process. “However, it is known that these levels of contamination are severely dangerous to human health.”

Mariano Castro believes that this is a key weakness of MINAM’s proposals: there are no limits for short periods of time - just one hour or three hours - which would prohibit serious peaks in contamination. In Colombia, he says, the limit for 24 hours is 250, as proposed for Peru, but crucially there is also a limit for three hours set at 750.

“Without this [750] limit on short-term peaks, you could get up to levels around 2,000 for several hours over a 24 hour period and never exceed the daily limit,” Castro told the Guardian. “The dangers to human health and the environment would be irreversible. Under no condition should an increase in the 24 hour limit be permitted if an appropriate limit for just one hour is not established, as in other countries.”

Fernando Serrano, a scientist at Saint Louis University in the US who has conducted research in La Oroya and testified before US Congress about it, agrees with Castro. “The proposed new air standards for sulfur dioxide don’t include a hourly standard and therefore don’t hold the smelter responsible for the hourly peaks that are far greater than anything that is acceptable,” he says. “The most effective way to protect people’s health and environmental quality is to reduce smelter emissions through technical measures and to enact and enforce air quality standards and other regulations that prevent health and environmental risks.”

Serrano describes the La Oroya smelter as for years “serving a toxic cocktail of metals” including lead, cadmium, arsenic and air pollutants like sulfur dioxide. “This mix of contaminants has gravely affected the health of the people of La Oroya and surrounding areas,” he told the Guardian. “The only time people enjoyed a cleaner and safer environment - low sulfur dioxide levels, decreasing blood lead levels - is when the smelter closed, which shows that it is the primary source of contamination.”

The appalling health impacts of the smelter on La Oroya’s inhabitants have been reported for many years, with the government concluding almost two decades ago that more than 99% of children living nearby suffered from lead poisoning. A series of legal actions have been taken against the Health Ministry in Peru, against the Peruvian state at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and against Doe Run in the US.

Peru’s Congressional Commission on the Environment is scheduled to discuss MINAM’s proposals tomorrow, 2 May, and has requested Environment minister Galarza to attend.

MINAM did not respond to questions.

viernes, 21 de abril de 2017

Autorizan ingreso de las FF.AA. a Madre de Dios para luchar contra minería ilegal

Por la Resolución Suprema suscrita por los ministros del Interior, Carlos Basombrío y de Defensa, Jorge Nieto, el Gobierno Central autorizó el ingreso de las Fuerzas Armadas (FF.AA) a la región de Madre de Dios para apoyar a la Policía Nacional en su lucha contra la minería ilegal.

La autorización busca que las fuerzas militares brinden apoyo a los efectivos policiales frente a las movilizaciones que los mineros ilegales han anunciado para los próximos días. El permiso será por 30 días desde hoy viernes 21 de abril.

En la resolución se explica que en todo momento será la Policía Nacional la responsable de mantener el control del orden interno en Madre de Dios, agregando que la presencia de las FF.AA. será solo de apoyo.

“La actuación de las FF.AA. estará dirigida a contribuir y garantizar la plena vigencia del derecho a la libertad y seguridad personales, a la libertad de tránsito por las vías y carreteras (…), facilitando de este modo que los efectivos de la Policía Nacional concentren su accionar en el control del orden público”, señala la resolución publicada en El Peruano

domingo, 9 de abril de 2017

Peru wants to sell dirty smelter but has to lower air standards

La Oroya - Peru's La Oroya polymetallic smelting plant has been for sale since the company who owned it went bankrupt in 2009. So Peru is proposing to loosen air quality standards in some parts of the country to attract buyers, despite the plant's dirty past.

The decision by the Andean country's Environment Ministry late Saturday is actually nothing new. In January 2017, a proposed auction of the La Oroya smelter, supported by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, drew the interest of five companies.

But the interested parties were turned off by Peru's air quality standards. At the time, the prospective buyers were aware of the possibility of changes to the regulations and decided to hold off on bidding until they could see for themselves what would come of the new standards.

However, according to Reuters, the government's new proposal is serious and would include changing several parts of the country's environmental quality standards, including raising the sulfur dioxide emission limit to levels in line with other countries in the region including Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.

The country is desperate to sell the plant, as well as a small copper mine. The government is planning a new series of auctions before an August deadline for selling the facility. The proposed standards have been pre-published and are now open for a 10-day public comment period.

Of course, the proposed standards change does not mention the need to sell the smelter, but to some environmentalists, it looks like Peru is putting the environment second over economic growth, something President Trump has done in the United States.

Pollution problems with the La Oroya smelter

La Oroya was bought by Doe Run, (whose parent company was The Renco Group, Inc.), in 1997 for US$247 million. The company also bought a small copper mine, the Cobriza copper mine, south of La Oroya, for US$7.5 million. Until Doe Run took bankruptcy in 2009, they owned 99.97 percent of La Oroya.

La Oroya was made up of a copper and lead smelter and zinc refinery. The plant also dealt with 'dirty concentrates' produced by a number of local mines They included gold and silver, antimony, arsenic trioxide, bismuth, cadmium, indium, selenium, tellurium, sulfuric acid, and oleum.

Under the leadership of its coordinator, Congressman Casio Huaire Chuquichaico, the Junin Parliamentary Group held a meeting in which legislators expressed concerns about the Doe Run case affecting the population of La Oroya and the modernization of the Jauja airport. (Translation by Google Translate). Congreso de la República del Perú

Problems started right away with Doe Run. Until their purchase of the company, La Oroya had been run without any concern for the environment, and consequently, the landscape around the plant looked like a moonscape because of the sulfur dioxide residues.

Doe Run signed an environmental contract with the government that gave them 10 years to install remediation measures to curb emissions from gasses, particulates, and polluted water and clean up around the smelter and its waste dumps. Well, it never happened.

jueves, 30 de marzo de 2017

EE.UU., puerto final del oro ilegal peruano




El encarcelamiento de dos peruanos, acusados de lavado de activos, fue el inicio de una extensa y complicada red de comercio de oro ilegal cuyo principal comprador es una empresa metalúrgica de EE.UU.

Las capturas de Pablo Granda y Pedro David Pérez Miranda pusieron en evidencia una red de minería ilegalcuyo principal comprador está a kilómetros, en EE.UU.

El Departamento de Seguridad estadounidense inició una investigación penal por compra de oro ilegal contra Northern Texas Refinery (NTR) explica a RT el periodista peruano Oscar Castilla, quien ha desarrollado una extensa investigación sobre la minería ilegal en su país.

Según los fiscales estadounidenses, trabajadores de NTR, entre los que se encontraba Granda, compraban oro, procedente de la Amazonía peruana, a minas ilegales, reseña 'Gestión' citando a Bloomberg.

El proceso revela además que la oficina de NTR en Miami presuntamente lavó miles de millones de dólares de las mafias que controlaban las minas, donde además hay trata de personas, daños ambientales y esclavización moderna.

"Soy como Pablo (Escobar) yendo a Ecuador para conseguir la coca“.
Pablo Granda, encarcelado por acusación de lavado de activos.

Debido a los movimientos y registro en la aduana estadounidense, el Departamento de Seguridad y el FBI consideran que hay "fuertes indicios" de que NTR inició sus operaciones en Perú en 2012.

La demanda contra esa empresa metalúrgica arroja que el contrabando de oro ilegal en varios países mineros de América Latina fue de 3.600 millones de dólares de 2012 a 2015.

"Por todos los miles de millones de dólares enviados desde América Latina a NTR en Miami, NTR envió miles de millones de dólares en pagos electrónicos a América Latina desde Estados Unidos", escribió Colberd Almeida, del Departamento de Seguridad, en una declaración jurada del 10 de marzo.

NTR ha cambiado de nombre y ha dejado de operar en Perú, agregó Castilla.

Los tentáculos latinoamericanos

Los nombres de Pablo Granda y Pedro David Pérez Miranda saltaron al ámbito noticioso al conocerse las investigaciones que se les habían abierto y sus condenas a la cárcel por su relación con el enriquecimiento ilícito producto de la minería ilegal. Uno de los principales operadores de NTR en Perú era Granda, según Castilla.

Un helicóptero patrulla durante una operación policial para destruir campos ilegales de extracción de oro en La Pampa, en Madre de Dios.Stringer PeruReuters

Granda fue detenido el 10 de marzo en Miami bajo la acusación de lavado de dinero en EE.UU., reseña 'Perú 21'. Este hombre de 35 años, debe demostrar ante la aduana la información falsa que proporcionó, en la que declaraba el oro en su poder como 'no refinado', lo que disminuía el valor en 50%.

Según la investigación, se alió a dos vendedores de NTR y otras personas que sabían del tipo de negocio irregular que llevaba a cabo.

"Crimen organizado, contrabando de oro e ingreso de mercancías en EE.UU. por medios y declaraciones falsas, minería ilegal, y narcotráfico", escribió Almeida citado por Bloomberg.

Las pesquisas policiales arrojan que Granda trabajaba directamente en las selvas de América del Sur, donde operan la minería ilegal y sus mafias.

El 'Pablo Escobar moderno'

Granda se autodenominó como el 'Pablo Escobar moderno', según la información cifrada hallada en los mensajes de un chat de celular que tenía con sus cómplices.

"Soy como Pablo [Escobar] yendo a Ecuador para conseguir la coca", recoge su expediente judicial y cita 'El Comercio'.

Perú: La política, bañada de oro ilegal

Entre las comunicaciones también hallaron comentarios y fotos sobre sus 'mulas' de oro, que correspondían a jóvenes que transportaban el metal precioso en mochilas.

La forma de captación de los potenciales clientes se basaba en relaciones, visitas a NTR para ver las instalaciones y promesas de obtención del oro en menos tiempo que otras refinerías, arrojó la causa penal.

Posteriormente se hacía el comercio ilegal a través de muchas empresas falsas que exportaban el oro en pequeñas cantidades a una corporación más grande.

'Peter Ferrari'

Tras la detención de Granda, se hallaron evidencias que vinculaban a Pedro David Pérez Miranda, alias 'Peter Ferrari' con el contrabando de oro proveniente de Madre de Dios, en la Amazonía peruana.

Pérez Miranda, capturado el pasado 4 de enero por fuerzas policiales en Lima, es investigado por "presuntamente haber exportado de forma ilegal 14 toneladas de oro valorizadas en más de 660 millones de dólares" recoge 'Perú 21'.

En la amplia residencia de 'Peter Ferrari' encontraron ocho autos de lujo y armas de fuego. Además se hizo un allanamiento de 10 propiedades que presuntamente le pertenecían. La captura se realizó por orden de la Fiscalía de Lavado de Activos y Pérdida de Dominio peruana.

Oficiales de la policía peruana participan en una operación para destruir campos ilegales de extracción de oroJanine CostaReuters

Tras la pista

En mayo de 2014 la justicia peruana abrió la investigación contra 'Peter Ferrari' por lavado de activos, pues se detectó que empresas relacionadas con él habían exportado ilegalmente a compañías estadounidenses "más de 14 toneladas de oro por un valor de 660 millones de dólares, según consta en la Carpeta Fiscal Nº01-2014", informa 'Perú 21'.

Estas exportaciones se hicieron entre 2012 y 2013 a través de empresas falsas, a nombre de testaferros.

Luego de meses de pesquisa, la fiscalía estableció que 'Peter Ferrari' era "el presunto financista y cabecilla de una organización criminal dedicada a la exportación de mineral aurífero procedente de la minería ilegal" según 'Perú 21'.

El oro salía ilegalmente de Perú, y se distribuía a través de empresas falsas hasta llegar a EE.UU.Pexels / Pixabay

El registro de la Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera y la Superintendencia Aduanera y Tributaria peruanas arrojó que la empresa Minerales La Mano de Dios, relacionada con Pérez Miranda, a través de testaferros y familiares, realizó "39 operaciones de exportación por 2,1 toneladas de oro por un valor de 107,5 millones de dólares" a NTR.

Además, la empresa Minerals Gold MPP SAC, relacionada también con Pérez Miranda, tuvo 40 operaciones de exportación de oro por 2,9 toneladas por 138 millones de dólares importadas por NTR.

Pérez Mirada ya había sido encarcelado en 1998 por lavado de dinero producto del narcotráfico. Después de cinco años de prisión fue liberado.