Peruvian Maxima Acuña has been named the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize winner for South and Central America, after standing up to Newmont and Buenaventura Mining.


For years she has been fighting to live peacefully on the land that she purchased in northern Peru’s Cajamarca region, near Laguna Azul (Blue Lake).

Newmont and Buenaventura Mining claimed to own the land and went to trial with Acuña in order to develop the Conga gold and copper mine.

Acuña has become a hero not only in Cajamarca and Peru, but for all fighting in similar situations. Unfortunately, it is a common one.

“With promises of jobs and economic prosperity, the Peruvian government awarded mining licenses across the country. Despite these promises, rural campesinos, who were rarely consulted in the development of mining projects, largely continue to live in poverty. In many communities, mining waste has polluted the local waterways, affecting local people’s drinking water and irrigation needs,” according to the Goldman Prize website.

In 2015, she won the legal battle against Newmont and Buenaventura but since then she has continued to face threats and intrusions by their workers.

Other Goldman Prize winners this year include Edward Loure (Tanzania); Leng Ouch (Camboya); Zuzana Caputova (Slovakia); Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera (Puerto Rico); and Destiny Watford (United States).

Source: Living in Peru