Rio Tinto Minera Peru: La Granja project

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Climate change poses one of the most serious threats to societies, economies and environments right across the globe. A changing climate also creates significant challenges for the mining and metals industry. Higher temperatures, fluctuating water levels and less predictable precipitation present multiple risks to business, including flood and storm damage to infrastructure, transport disruption affecting supply chain reliability and increased competition for climate-sensitive resources such as water and energy. Reducing emissions and preventing further warming is critical to addressing climate change – but so is adaptation.

Climate change disproportionately destabilises some of the most vulnerable communities in the world, through exposure to increased extreme weather events and changing weather patterns which disrupt traditional livelihoods. With many of these changes occurring in mining-dependent regions, the industry has an important role to play in supporting host communities in strengthening their adaptation capacity against the physical impacts of climate change.

Climate change adaptation in Peru

Rio Tinto Minera Peru has been working with communities around their copper exploration site in La Granja since 2006. There are over 9,000 inhabitants in the 43 communities of Querocoto.

With some of the greatest climate-related temperature rises predicted to take place in Peru, it is essential that local communities are aware of and can adapt to a changing climate. During September 2014, ICMM and RTMP initiated a community adaptation project in La Granja to support identification of both current and future risks to the livelihoods of local communities and to build capacity for adapting to those risks.

Using the CRiSTAL toolkit and CARE International’s CVCA framework, an inclusive and participatory approach was taken to ensure effective community consultation and ownership of the project’s results.

Objectives

The primary objective of the project was to find ways of enhancing the capacity
of mining host communities to adapt to climate change.

More specifically, the project aimed to deliver:

Process

Rigorous planning, thorough background research and training of RTMP staff and facilitators ensured a tailored approach that was suitable for local stakeholder needs. The process included the following stages:

  1. Research and discuss climate change with the community.
  2. Map key livelihood resources (natural, social, financial etc.) and hazards (floods, drought etc.) in the community.
  3. Create a calendar and historical timeline of noteworthy seasonal events.
  4. Complete vulnerability assessment on livelihood resources.
  5. Input data into CRiSTAL to generate adaptation measures, then validate results with the community.
  6. Based on results, build adaptation measures into RTMP activities, and validate recommendations with RTMP staff and management.

Inclusive engagement and community participation were emphasised throughout the project, with community consultation and capacity-building workshops that respected and reflected local gender and social inclusion issues. The results of the project were reported back to the community for validation, ensuring ownership of the project’s process and results.

Project scorecard

Objective Results

Increase awareness, among oth RTMP staff and local community members, of climate change and its relevance to La Granja communities

1. Increased knowledge of the causes and impacts of climate change both in La Granja and more widely.

2. Better understanding of the relationship between local livelihoods and climate hazards and an improved capacity for adaptation.

3. Dialogue established between communities and RTMP on climate change as a result of consultation and validation meetings.

Greater capacity for key local stakeholders to understand, prepare for, and respond to the impacts of climate change

1. Stronger community capacity to assess local climate related vulnerability using tools such as those from CVCA and increased capacity to devise appropriate adaptation and resilience-building strategies as a result.

2. Greater ability for local communities to consider climate resilience as part of their own planning and decisionmaking.

A chance for RTMP’s social development projects and water strategy to further contribute to climate resilience

1. Actionable recommendations for RTMP to support community climate resilience.

2. Recommendations for the mining industry to repeat the climate resilience assessment process in future.

 

Findings

The project provided robust and insightful results in terms of local climate-related hazards, their impact on community livelihoods and the coping strategies of the La Granja community. The most significant climate hazards that the community experienced were drought, cold snaps, heavy rains, floods and landslides.

Focus on drought: impacts and coping strategies

Impact
 

  • loss of income and food security through crop and livestock loss
  • respiratory and water contamination from dust
  • reduced energy generation from reduced river flow
  • damage to water pipes

Additional strategies that the
community identified

  • building a reservoir/ dam to improve water availability
  • building canals for irrigation
  • water conservation and reforestation
  • building asphalt roads
  • adopting new farming techniques

Existing coping strategies

  • using drip irrigation for crops and livestock (though only 20% of the population have access to this type of irrigation)
  • water harvesting, canals and sprinkler irrigation for crops
  • livestock vaccination
  • eating imported food
  • watering roads to control dust

Additional strategies that the project team identified

  • using drought-resistant seeds
  • building capacity to repair and maintain infrastructure
  • awareness raising and training in water conservation
  • establishing water management committees
  • introducing more diversity in energy sources (eg solar)
  • developing sand filters
  • running health campaigns

Where to next?

ICMM recognises the importance of working in partnership with members, the wider industry and experienced third parties to build on this project’s outcomes.

A key learning is that successful adaptation is best supported through a multi-stakeholder approach. Therefore, it is imperative to continue finding ways of collaborating with host communities, assisted by organisations with local knowledge. This helps equip both future operations and the communities
themselves with the ability to adapt to the physical impacts of climate change.

Enhancing the sector’s capacity to support local communities in adaptation and
community resilience also makes it crucial that methods, approaches and learnings are widely shared, not just from this pilot but from work in other regions too.