Peru Environment Ministry declares 90-day emergency to clean up mine spill into Andean river
July 6, 2010 ·by Andean Air Mail & PERUVIAN TIMES
Peru’s Environment Ministry declared a 90-day emergency Tuesday to clean up some 21,420 cubic meters of toxic mine tailings that spilled late last month into the Opamayo River in the southern Department of Huancavelica.
The spill occurred June 26 when a containment dam at the Caudalosa Chica mine collapsed, unleashing cyanide-tinged waste water into the Opamayo, which flows into the larger Urubamba River.
Carlos Candiotti, secretary of the Environmental Control Committee in the province of Angaraes told cable news station Canal N that thousands of trout in a fish farm downstream were killed by the fouled waters.
The Environment Ministry should release short-term action plan for the cleanup within five days, in coordination with Civil Defense and the ministries of Health and Energy & Mines, as well as the regional government of Huancavelica, daily Peru.21 reported.
The Environment Ministry indicatd that any penalty levied against Caudalosa Chica will have to be decided by the Ministry of Energy and Mines.
The regional director of Civil Defense for Huancavelica, Rafael Rojas, criticized the government on CPN radio for waiting more than a week to declare the emergency.