Gold mine chose "eviction over dialogue" in Peru land dispute - report
By Chris Arsenault
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - One of the world's biggest gold mining firms has pledged to improve its dispute resolution practices following an 18-month investigation into a bitter, ongoing conflict over land between farmers and its Peruvian subsidiary.
Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation said the company-financed independent investigation into conflicts around South America's largest gold mine had found no conclusive evidence of human rights abuses.
Rights groups had complained that private security forces backed by the firm assaulted protesting farmers. The company denies being involved in the attacks.
But Newmont said in a statement after the investigation was released on Wednesday that it had not properly followed its own standards for dialogue in resolving land disputes.
Land rights campaigners welcomed the report from Washington-based RESOLVE consulting firm, which said the mining firm "prioritized eviction and litigation over dialogue" with farmers.
The dispute over land in the Peruvian highlands underlines tensions that can arise between farmers and investors when property rights are not clearly demarcated.
Farmers and miners both say they are the rightful owners of the disputed territory which contains valuable gold deposits.
"The complex land dispute ... remains a concern for us," Newmont spokeswoman Elaine Dorward-King said in a statement. Continuación...