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The AMSAC initiative: 30x30 towards a sustainable world

The AMSAC initiative: 30x30 towards a sustainable world

 

 

Safeguarding the planet’s biological diversity and ecological systems is a global concern that requires clear strategies, firm commitments, and timely action.

 

In response to this concern, the international community has made significant strides with the establishment of the “30x30 goal”, under the framework of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

This ambitious initiative aims to conserve 30% of the world’s terrestrial and aquatic territories by 2030. The successful implementation of this goal is crucial for the health and well-being of both ecological systems and population, as the conservation of the environment and the protection of ecosystems are fundamental pillars of this mission.

 

Despite significant progress in environmental initiatives and companies aligning their activities with global conservation goals, there are still enormous challenges in balancing economic activities with ecosystem conservation. For example, there has been a relatively positive environmental evolution in the mining industry, with technology playing a pivotal role in finding solutions to minimize harmful effects on the environment and ecosystems.

 

However, it is essential to note that there are still significant environmental liabilities stemming from ancient mining activities in our country. These liabilities have their roots in long-standing practices, some dating back to pre-colonial times. Due to their chemical composition, these liabilities continue to have the potential to cause adverse impacts on ecosystems, regardless of their age.

 

Restoring ecosystems affected by mining-related environmental damage is a complex and long-term undertaking. The time needed for remediation can vary widely based on factors such as the location, scale, complexity, and availability of resources

 

 According to Peruvian legislation, mining companies are responsible for managing and remediating the environmental impacts caused by their work, including the restoration of degraded areas. When it comes to “orphan” mining environmental liabilities, which occur when it’s unclear who is responsible for their generation, the responsibility falls on the Peruvian State. In 2006, the Peruvian government established a public company called Mining Assets (AMSAC) to handle this task. AMSAC is an expert in environmental remediation and is responsible for executing commissioned projects. For the last 17 years, AMSAC has been working on the remediation of mining environmental liabilities, focusing on achieving physical, chemical, and hydrobiological stability and improving the quality of soils and air. These actions directly impact the recovery or restoration of ecosystems and, in many cases,ancient the creation of new ones, such as the Delta Upamayo in Pasco or Calioc-Chacrapuquio in Junín. These projects establish habitats for high Andean wildlife species, some of which are in danger of extinction.

 

The Delta Upamayo project in Pasco is an excellent example of how remediation contributes to the recovery of ecosystems. It is located in the town of Vicco in the department of Pasco and has enabled living organisms to return to their natural habitat. The project has led to the appearance of 59 species of botanical varieties (flora) and the observation of 34 bird species. As a result of the remediation work, neutral values, which were previously acidic, have been recorded, meeting environmental quality standards for surface water.

 

Similarly, the Calioc and Chacrapuquio project in La Oroya has successfully benefited over 910 residents of the Huari Peasant Community in the Junín department. The restoration of more than 800 hectares of degraded soils has prevented health risks for the population, which was previously impacted by the dispersal of particulate matter from mining activities. Planting over 300 thousand “queñuales” has helped with water retention and gradual release, creating lagoons and boosting biodiversity. Additionally, these plants have provided a habitat for various bird and mammal species. This project has also created local job opportunities, as all employed personnel are from the Huari community.

Initial studies have revealed the immense potential of the afforestation project in carbon capture and water regulation. With the capacity to sequester up to 25 m3 of carbon per year for each hectare of forest and regulate approximately 643 m3 of water per year, this project is a significant step towards environmental sustainability. Moreover, the project is not just about the immediate benefits but also about the future. The residents are being trained in land remediation techniques, preparing them to play a crucial role in the project’s maintenance and ensuring its long-term success.

 

The goal of preserving 30% of terrestrial and marine ecosystems by 2030 presents significant challenges. These include the crucial task of identifying priority areas and effectively managing mining environmental liabilities in surrounding buffer areas. If these challenges are not promptly addressed, there is a real risk of ecosystem degradation, the release of pollutants or toxic substances that harm the condition of soils, water, and air. This could lead to habitat fragmentation, hindering the mobility of species and decreasing their ability to survive and reproduce. Furthermore, it could result in the loss of ecosystem resources, such as watersheds and micro watersheds.