A Peruvian farmer is planning to collaborate with non-profit organisation EarthRights International to appeal a decision made by a federal court in Delaware, US, as part of their land dispute case against Newmont Mining.
The district court previously ruled that the case filed by Maxima Acuña Atalaya and her family, the Chaupes, should be presented before a bench in Peru as opposed to Delaware, where Newmont is incorporated.
However, the petitioners contend that Newmont wields significant influence over Peruvian courts and therefore the case should be heard in Delaware to ensure a fair trial.
The Chaupes intend to explore all legal options available to them to ensure the mining company ‘respects’ the human rights of people living in the Cajamarca region in Peru.
Plaintiff Ysidora Chaupe Acuña said: “We are going to fight until the end so that Newmont learns to respect human rights and property.”
The original case dates back to September last year when the Chaupes filed a lawsuit against Newmont in a Delaware federal court, claiming that they were forcefully evicted from their land as part of the company’s transition to a new Conga open-pit gold mine in Peru.
The plaintiff sought an injunction offering adequate compensation from Newmont for the years of ‘abuse’ meted out to the family as part of their plea.
In response, Newmont filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit under the doctrine of forum non conveniens (FNC), which questioned the correct jurisdiction of the case.
Newmont also claimed that it would be inconvenient to litigate the case in the US and therefore it should be heard in Peru.
EarthRights International Attorney Marissa Vahlsing said: “Legal cases like this one can take a long time.
“This is not unusual, and we are not discouraged by the most recent court decision.
“We are all committed to seeking justice and won’t stop fighting for the Chaupes’ rights.”
The Chaupes live in the rural highlands of Cajamarca, Peru.
They claim ownership rights over a plot of land known as Tragadero Grande, which the family contends they were removed from to make way for Newmont’s plans to expand its mining operations in the area.