Ingemmet to continue rejecting Cuzco mining claims until high court issues ruling

- Friday, May 28, 2010

Ingemmet to continue rejecting Cuzco mining claims until high court issues ruling

Peru's geology, mining and metallurgy agency Ingemmet will continue rejecting mining claim applications for Cuzco region until it receives a ruling from the nation's highest court on the constitutionality of a decree issued by the region's local government, Ingemmet IR director Yorri Carrasco told BNamericas.

Carrasco said Ingemmet could face legal problems if the entity approves a new application before Peru's constitutional tribunal rules on the matter.

Ingemmet has rejected 32 applications that were submitted for Cuzco as a result of a decree issued by the local government to prevent new mining projects in the region, paper El Comercio previously reported. The decree came into force during the week of March 21-26 and is aimed at supporting Cuzco's agriculture and tourism sectors.

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Peru's mines and energy (MEM) minister Pedro Sanchez earlier called the decree illegal and unconstitutional.

A spokesperson from the constitutional tribunal told BNamericas the court received a request from MEM to review the decree. The representative said the time to review the decree will depend on how complicated it is, adding that there is no maximum time limit for the court to make a decision.

Cuzco regional governor Hugo Gonzales, who has said he does not support the law, told paper Gestion that his earlier attempts to void the decree were unsuccessful. He said his "hands were tied," adding that the decree could have a long-term impact on the region's economy.

"If we have money in the region, it is because of the [mining] canon," Gonzales was quoted as saying. "We can't be shooting ourselves in the foot with laws like this."

According to Gestion, Cuzco received 147mn soles (US$51.2mn) from the mining canon in 2009.