Thursday, September 30, 2004

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Newmont Gives Up: The Denver Post reports that Newmont “has abruptly given up its three-year effort to keep a legal battle over a mercury spill out of U.S. courts. The move avoids a lengthy discovery process over the venue that would have delved deeply into accusations that Newmont fixed a 1998 Peruvian supreme court decision that gave the company control of Latin America's largest gold mine.” NOTE: “Denver District Court Judge Herbert Stern approved a motion Wednesday by Newmont that would allow the case to proceed here, rather than in Peru. Attorneys for Newmont and the plaintiffs - 1,100 Peruvians who claim they were harmed in a massive June 2000 spill - are in mediated discussions to settle the dispute out of court.” CITED: Doug Hock (Newmont spokesman). ALSO: “Former Newmont vice president Larry Kurlander was caught on a 1998 recording soliciting the help of the notorious Peruvian spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos in swaying the final supreme court vote. According to the discovery motion filed Sept. 17, plaintiffs sought to track the fate of about $9 million that Newmont deposited in the account of its Peruvian lawyer in 1998 and part of which they suggest may have ended up in Montesinos' pocket. NOTE: The law firm representing the villagers is Los Angeles-based Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack.

Free Trade? Reuters reports that “the United States is prepared to drop Ecuador and Peru from a proposed U.S. free- trade pact with the Andean region if investment disputes with those countries threaten a deal with Colombia,” according to Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier. Allgeier said “in a speech in New York monitored in an audio feed on the Colombian Embassy's Web site, “we will not endanger a free-trade package with Colombia by having countries attached to it that are going to detract from congressional approval rather than add to it.” NOTE: “There needs to be a lot more progress in both of those countries for us to be in a position that we in confidence can put forward a free-trade agreement with those countries through the Congress,” Allgeier said. ALSO: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce earlier this year estimated the total value of disputes between U.S. companies and the government of Peru at over $300 million. In one case dating back to the late 1990s, New Jersey-based metals and specialty chemicals company Engelhard Corp. says it is owed $30 million in tax refunds by the cash-strapped government in Lima.” See Also: Other USA companies cited in 'Free Trade II' in March 18's Peruvia.

Sendero in SUTEP? The BBC reports that “police in Peru have captured 17 members of the left-wing Shining Path and MRTA rebel groups,” according to the Minister of the Interior Javier Reategui. NOTE: “Reategui told Peru's CPN radio that some of those arrested were members of the country's leading teachers' union, the left-leaning Single Union of Education Workers.”

Economic Growth: Reuters reports that “Peru's export boom could earn a record $12 billion in 2004 if foreign sales keep up the current growth rate, above a $11.4 billion target and in line with forecasts for 2005,” according to Jose Gonzalez, head of Prompex. Said Gonzalez, “Peru's exports have surged 32.2% to $7.63 billion between January and August, compared with the same period last year.” NOTE: “ ‘Made in Peru’ is becoming a common sight abroad on textiles, machinery, furniture and craft goods, notably in the country's big trading partners, the United States and China. Peru is also a major exporter of metals such as copper, zinc and gold and is the world's biggest exporter of fresh asparagus.” ALSO: “Peru has long been a coffee and metals exporter, but a $150 million investment in garment factories this year helped make textiles a major export.”

Deaths in Cold: The BBC reports on the aftermath of the “unseasonably cold weather which battered the southern Andes” earlier this year. NOTE: “Thousands of children caught respiratory diseases. Without warm clothes, food and medicine, dozens died. Some families lost one third of their flocks of alpaca and llama, which provide the only means of survival for many who exchange their wool and meat for food that does not grow at altitudes of nearly 15,000 feet.” CITED: Horacio Araujo Rozas (Director Regional de Defensa Civil in Arequipa); Yamina Himeur (Oxfam’s regional director); the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office; Selinda Calizaya Tito (Mother's Club in Lloque). [The BBC mispells Araujo's name as 'Araujao'.] See Also: ‘More Deaths in Cold’ in July 20’s Peruvia.

Newmont’s Defense, cont.: Reuters reports on Roque Benavides, CEO of Buenaventura, speaking at the gold conference in Denver who said about the recent blockade by farmers at Yanacocha, “I believe that the problem at Cerro Quilish could have been avoided. I think we ought to work on solving the misconceptions and the lack of dialogue. I believe Cerro Quilish should not be taken as a trend.” ALSO: Benavides also stated that, “It is not good to blame it on third parties. The company has to face the problem. We have to discuss further with the local community and farmers and try to reach an agreement and show that we do care.” See Also: There were mixed messages coming from Newmont's CEO in 'Newmont's Defense' in yesterday's Peruvia.

Las Bambas Officially Sold: Dow Jones reports that “the plan to develop the Las Bambas copper deposit has the support of local residents, playing down reports of community unrest,” according to Minister of Energy and Mines Jaime Quijandria in an interview on CPN radio. NOTE: “Peru recently awarded the concession for the Las Bambas project to Swiss-based Xstrata PLC for $121 million.” NOTE: “However, some local residents in the poverty-stricken Apurimac department have expressed concerns about the concession contract for the project, which could require an investment of up to $2.0 billion.” ALSO: “On Wednesday the government also published a supreme decree, signed by President Alejandro Toledo and two cabinet ministers, giving Xstrata Peru SA the full guarantee of the state for terms of the Las Bambas contract.” See Also: ‘Las Bambas Price’ in September 1’s Peruvia.

Milpo Purchase?: Dow Jones and the Mining Journal report on the “surprise takeover bid for base metals miner Compania Minera Milpo." NOTE: “Milpo, which hasn't publicly commented on the offer so far, produces mainly zinc, but also lead and copper. The main shareholders are said to be a small number of Peruvian families, as well as some investment funds, including private pension funds.” CITED: Luis Bravo (Centura SAB); Emilio Fandino (Penoles investor relations); and Juan Miguel Pflucker (Banco de Credito). See Also: 'Mining' in yesterday's Peruvia.

Gold-Silver Project: Southwestern Resources Corp announces in a press release the developments with Newmont Peru “on the Liam Gold-Silver Project located in the southern Tertiary Volcanic Belt in Peru. A first phase orientation drilling program at Cerro Queshca by Newmont Peru, as operator of the Liam Core Project, returned an intersection in hole QS-010 of 24.55 metres grading 6.0 grams per tonne gold and 67.6 grams per tonne silver.”

Endesa & Camisea’s Light: Reuters reports that Spanish electric utility Endesa “brought on line a converted 300 megawatt plant in Peru on Wednesday, part of $1.6 billion in investments to upgrade power plants there over the past 10 years. The plant at Ventanilla, north of Lima, was converted to gas from petroleum for $15 million and will operate a single-cycle turbine until 2006, when it will be upgraded to a 380 MW, combined-cycle plant for a total cost of $100 million,” according to Endesa. NOTE: “The Ventanilla plant, due to become the first combined-cycle plant in Peru, will be fuelled by the massive Camisea gas field.”

The Peanut in Peru’s History: The Miami Herald’s food columnist says that “I didn't fully understand the enormous importance of the peanut as a food staple in the Americas until I saw a magnificent Moche necklace made of peanut-shaped gold and silver beads at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The piece was in an exhibit of the Lord of Sipán's burial treasure, a find that revolutionized our understanding of the Moche, a pre-Inca civilization that flourished between 100 and 700 A.D. along the northern coast of Peru.” ALSO: “That a skillful Moche goldsmith used the humble peanut as a model for a stunning gold and silver necklace is surprising. That a powerful Moche lord deemed it worthy of his elaborate burial attire is even more so.”

Cienciano’s Secret: Reuters reports on football coach Freddy Ternero “who turned Peru's Cienciano from provincial nobodies into international sensations, had his players do just that to learn the power of positive thinking. It paid off. A week later, on September 7, Cienciano beat Argentina's mighty Boca Juniors on penalties to win the South American Recopa, to add to last year's Copa Sudamericana trophy.” NOTE: “Even Peru's government, which admits it has a public relations problem, is courting Cienciano: the club have filmed an advertisement to promote respect for the national police.” See Also: ‘Cienciano’s Defeat’ in yesterday’s Peruvia.

Prison Beauty Contest: The Associated Press in Louisiana’s Daily Comet reports on the 10th annual beauty contest at Santa Monica Women's Prison in Chorrillos. This year's winner was “Lee Hefegtz, a 20-year-old blonde Israeli awaiting sentence on drug trafficking charges." NOTE: “Belying a ‘drug mule’ moniker used to refer to their crimes, Hefegtz and the other contestants were judged not only on their looks, but also on artistic ability, personality and poise strutting before the cameras.” CITED: Maritza Otiniano Martínez, spokesperson for the Instituto Nacional Penitenciario stated that, “the objective is to promote re-socialization among the inmates and create space for recreation and companionship to help them raise self-esteem and get rid of stress.”

Presidential Advice: The Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer offers some advice to USA President Bush in tonight's first presidential debate: “if you are accused of having strained U.S. ties with the rest of the world, don't use that line suggesting that U.S.-Latin American relations have improved during your term. It may backfire, Mr. President.” NOTE: New polling figures scheduled to be released at The Herald's Conference of the Americas, which starts today, will show that most Latin Americas believe their countries' ties with the United States have gone downhill in recent years.”

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