Bolivia: Comsur V-01/Bosque Chiquitano
Coordinadora de Pueblos Ethnicos de Santa Cruz
Quality of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); consultation and disclosure of information to indigenous communities; compensation.
The Don Mario mine is an operation of Empresa Minera Paititi, S.A., a subsidiary of Orvana Minerals Corporation, in which Compania Minera del Sur (COMSUR) holds shares. In July 2003, the Coordinadora de Pueblos Ethnicos de Santa Cruz, a Bolivian non-governmental organization, lodged a complaint with the CAO on behalf of the communities in the Bosque Chiquitano with the following concerns: - 1. An environmental impact study of Don Mario mining project in the Bosque Chiquitano was flawed; 2. Indigenous Peoples were not consulted or provided with adequate information in a timely manner nor compensated for the project's social and environmental impacts. Mining in a protected area and rare ecosystem, such as the Bosque Chiquitano rain forest, has caused considerable debate for many years, especially in relation to the exploitation of natural gas reserves. Although some social benefits are derived from the pipelines, local people do not have access to affordable gas. This situation had provoked resentment, and delays/uncertainties concerning a social fund caused distrust within the Chiquitano communities. At the time of the complaint, IFC had been involved with COMSUR for over 17 years, holding 11% equity in the company.
In July 2003, CAO Ombudsman conducted an assessment and concluded that it should commission an independent review of the social and environmental aspects of COMSUR operations. Subsequently, CAO Compliance conducted an audit of IFC’s compliance with its social and environmental commitments relating to the project.
The compliance audit, completed in June 2004, made recommendations to IFC to ensure that: - • COMSUR develop a transparent and predictable complaint resolution process to achieve greater community engagement; • Formation of strategic partnerships to helpimprove project companies’ social and environmental performance. The audit emphasized deepening the public consultation process to ensure broader, informed participation; participatory community development planning and stronger representation of social specialists at an early stage in project decision-making. The complaint was closed in May 2005.