Canadian Mining in the Peruvian Andes: Jurisdiction and the Colonial Condition

Authors: Philip Son*, University of Toronto
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Development, Indigenous Peoples
Keywords: Resource extraction, Resource governance, Jurisdiction, Coloniality, Indigenous, Peru
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Washington 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In 2016, ten Indigenous campesino communities of the Chamaca district of Peru temporarily seized a Canadian mine located on their territory for four days. Since 2011, these communities have demanded that HudBay Minerals—a Toronto-based company—take responsibility for contamination and fulfill its corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments. Building on debates in settler colonial/postcolonial studies (e.g. Pasternak, 2014; Escobar, 2007) and resource governance (e.g. Bebbington, 2010; Himley, 2010, 2013), this paper unpacks the ways in which the problem of jurisdiction is entangled in mining conflicts in Indigenous territories in Peru. It specifically analyzes how overlapping jurisdictions of the Peruvian state, the Canadian mining firm, and the Indigenous campesino communities have resulted in Indigenous dispossession at the Constancia mine in the region of Cusco. I show that on the one hand, the Peruvian state claims jurisdiction over Indigenous territories by using legal mechanisms rooted in colonial logics, facilitating the extractive project. On the other hand, the mining firm has also acquired jurisdiction in the district because of the neoliberalized form of resource governance in the country—namely, the CSR regime whereby it provides state-like services and practices authority over local populations. By analyzing state laws, CSR agreements, and semi-structured interview data, I argue that the ambiguous jurisdictional limits between the state and the company allows the latter to emphasize the “voluntary” nature of its CSR program, resulting in the marginalization of the Indigenous population and ultimately, conflicts.

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