Informal mining in Peru and the challenges surrounding it

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In the region of Arequipa, the central government created the Regional Environmental Authority (ARMA) as a part of the regional government.  It’s a strategy aimed at decentralizing and delegating certain functions in the mining sector. ARMA is a decentralized organization responsible for monitoring environmental policies and implementing specific environmental regulations with respect to natural resources and protected areas.

With ARMA, the government hopes to better understand problems and address environmental issues related to natural resources. The main challenge ARMA is currently facing is informal mining.  Not only does it have to try to collect mining taxes, but it also needs to formalize the sector. The organization also wants to certify that mining activities meet environmental standards.

Although the government has control mechanisms for the formal mining sector, it is ARMA’s responsibility to systematize the processes of supervision and monitoring compliance with laws, rules and agreements for the informal mining sector.

ARMA could take advantage of some international good practices

(i) They could assess their value chain with timely and accurate information, in order to have a clear view of their actual status. For example, they would benefit from a better tracking system for complaints received by the community and a better tracking system of existing informal mining sites.

(ii) They could address problems together with stakeholders, including businesses, civil society, universities, and NGOs.

(iii) They could implement international practices on social responsibility.

The challenge for ARMA is to become proactive, first by recognizing its social responsibility, and second, by ensuring organizational governance based on best international practices that will be sustainable in the long term.

Katia Madrid, Borealis

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