Peru environmental agency to set up specialized courts

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Peruvian state environment agency OEFA, which fined and shut down major mines for pollution in 2014, said it will set up three specialized courts to hear cases for the mining, energy and fishing industries.

The move seeks to ensure greater fairness in the agency's rulings, backed by the experience of the judges appointed to head each court, OEFA said in the ruling published on its website.

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The mining environmental court will be headed by judges Héctor Chávarry, Humberto Zúñiga and Luis Ramírez, while Zúñiga and Chávarry will also head the energy court together with Francisco Olano, the agency said. Ramírez will join Jaime de la Puente and Emilio Medrano to head the court on fishing and manufacturing, it said.

"The judges' greater experience will help to guarantee the trustworthiness of the rulings issued in the most complex cases submitted to the environmental monitoring court, which mainly covers mining and energy issues," the agency said in the ruling.

This year, OEFA fined miners, including Glencore and Volcan, for excessive mineral emissions and halted operations in March at Chinalco's US$3.5bn Toromocho copper mine due to a tailings leak. The sanctions, part of a total of 941 fines since 2008, were called excessive by the country's mining society (SNMPE).

The agency has carried out 5,517 inspections of mining, energy, fishing and manufacturing companies over the past six years.