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7/25/08

Gone fishing, Antamina style

The Antamina mine in Northern Peru is the world's 4th largest mine.

A couple of weeks ago I reported in this linked post on a welcome initiative at Codelco Chile, where the up to now underused tailings pond has been equipped with dinghies, thus allowing workers to enjoy a spot of leisure sailing. So as it's the weekend, I thought I'd post on the originator of the so-called "mining environmental leisure activity" movement, that of the Antamina Fishing Club (El Club de Pesca de Antamina) in Northern Peru. This is because although the project is famous in mining circles, it is often less well-known to the general public and deserves greater exposure.

The main tailings pond at Antamina

Back in 2005 when the giant Antamina copper/zinc mine in the Ancash region of Peru was undergoing extensive expansion to its production facilities, a few of the contracted workers released some 50 or so trout into the site's main tailings pond as an experiment. Once the fish were found to be thriving, they went to management and told them what they had done. The brass at Antamina (jointly owned by Xstrata 33.75%, BHP Billiton 33.75%, Teck Cominco 22.5% and Mitsubishi 10%) immediately saw the possibilities presented to them, and proceeded to stock the pond with over 10,000 brown and rainbow trout. The fishing club was organized, and from that moment the approx 1,400 workers at Antamina have enjoyed a leisure activity that allows them to relax at the end of the day, or even between shifts.

The Antamina Fishing Club (June 2007)

The Antamina Fishing Club has taken the social movement a step further, as although none of the trout caught are ever thrown back, any single angler can only take home two fish for his own plate. Any other fish caught are donated to the local communties and schools. All in all, a very commendable project that benefits both the workers at Antamina and an appreciative local community. Kudos to the folk at Antamina for setting such a good example of community relations.