During the virtual session of the decentralized event Rumbo a PERUMIN, which focused on analyzing the social and economic impacts of mining on the southwestern regions of Peru, Irma Potes, director of Community Development at Southern Peru Copper Corporation, underscored the fact that mining and agriculture, besides being activities that naturally coexist, can be articulated in order to achieve a virtuous and sustainable circle.
First, she talked about the use of water, for which mining has high-efficiency systems that are not found in agriculture in our regions, let alone if agriculture is a scattered or informal activity. “The mining system can be of great help when it comes to water for agriculture. Mining can even extract and reuse water used in agriculture in hamlets,” she said.
Second, she highlighted mining’s capabilities to help improve the operation of small-scale agriculture and, through an assertive approach, become its ally and help enhance it and add value to it, which means helping the activity to efficiently scale from basic levels to export levels.
“We usually find very basic agriculture, and we, miners, know how to export, have capabilities and have contacts to benefit agriculture,” said Potes.
On the other hand, she emphasized the importance of identifying a common thread with the communities surrounding the mine, so that agriculture can be scaled from individual to collective, and the communities can get involved, in a responsible way, in the decision-making processes to bring benefit to the whole area.
“It is about talking about a benefit of mining from the top down, but also about a voice that goes from the person, as the center of their development, and climbs its way up in the mining proposals,” explained Potes.
Finally, she reflected upon the value of citizen participation, and of listening and identifying people’s needs in order to develop the right projects and move forward in building a sustainable future that will bring satisfaction to all Peruvians.
“I think that just as we mine into the heart of the earth and take the best of it to give it to the world in the form of metals, we can also mine into people’s hearts, into those situations that can bring out the best in people to build a better future,” she pointed out.