Cusco’s Rainbow Mountain Averts Mining Crisis

Cusco’s Rainbow Mountain Averts Mining Crisis

A Canadian-owned mining company has surrendered its digging rights at Rainbow Mountain after protests by the local community and a personal intervention by Peru President Martin Vizcarra. 

Minquest Peru SAC, owned by the Canadian Camino Minerals, sent a letter yesterday to the Regional Government of Cusco relinquishing the concession granted by Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, local media reported.

The company wrote after evaluating different alternatives its shareholders and officers were willing to cede the concession out of “their high respect and commitment to preserve the cultural and tourist” destination.

Small tour groups hikes the lower slopes of the multi-colored Vinicunca mountain range

Rainbow Mountain’s  stripes formed by trace minerals of iron oxide red, bright yellow iron sulphide and varying shades of chlorite green have made it one of Cusco’s most iconic sites.

Also known as Cerro Colorado, K’ayrawire Wininkunka, Seven-Color Mountain or, most popularly, Vinicunca, the remote mountain range was interpreted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines to be located just outside the regional conservation area of Mount Ausangate, Cusco’s most sacred peak.

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So it allowed the Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute to issue the mining concession to Minquest in March.

The local community of Pampachiri was up in arms after the NGO CooperAcción alerted them that Rainbow Mountain was in the middle of the mining concession called “Red beds 2,” which covered an area of ​​400 hectares between the municipalities of Cusipata and Pitumarca.

Minquest announced its commitment to “safeguarding the integrity of both the cultural and touristic development of the area, as a representative and cultural icon of the Peru” yesterday, soon after President Vizcarra weighed in on his Twitter account with this sweet tweet:  “The Seven Colors Mountain, an important natural conservation area, will be preserved.”

Rainbow Mountain is part of a popular multi-day mountain adventure trek that we offer. It is also a popular full-day trip from Cusco. Until recently it was accessible only through Pitumarca, involving a two-hour ride by bus or car to the town, followed by a several hour long trek or horse ride. A new, shorter route opened several weeks ago from the neighboring town Cusipata.

Pitumarca receives an average of 750 daily tourists during the dry season from May to November. Serapio Llanos, mayor of Cusipata, told daily La Republica that his town hopes to attract another 1,000 visitors per day.

While local authorities work to formally include Rainbow Mountain within the protected conservation zone of Ausangate, we in the tourism sector are going to have to take a serious look at our impact on the Seven Colors Mountain and the delicate eco-system that surrounds it.

More to come….

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Authored by: PeruTravelTrends

A Peru Tour Operator and Travel Agency: Since 1994 creating wonderful vacation experiences for adventure travelers and holidaymakers in Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, and all around the Andean region.

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Sweety at 7:43 am

    I am hiking up to Machu Picchu next month and I can’t wait. I am spending a few days in Cusco before. Any tips or ideas for other fun things to do around there?

  2. Rick Vecchio at 4:50 pm

    Hi Sweety,

    Well, you could visit Vinicunca, but only if the rainy season hasn’t set in.
    If you have a chance to visit Maras y Moray, that’s a great day trip. (You can get there with a guide on horseback!)
    Or head to Piquillacta and Andahuaylillas, southeast of Cusco. Lots of people never head in that direction and they’re missing out majorly.
    If you’re in the city and looking for a place to eat that’s different and delicious, check out Café Daria y Pizzeria. You’ll get a fabulous lunch, and support the kids from Manos Unidas, a terrific program that’s been doing incredible work supporting special needs children and their families.
    Those are just some ideas off the top of my head.
    You’re going to love Cusco!

  3. Sophia at 4:33 am

    This place is very beautiful and such a great piece of art. Machu picchu can amaze every traveler. This place is look like a puzzle game where one can enjoy hide and seek game like I did .:)

  4. George at 9:14 am

    This photo is amazing! Well from the photograph it pretty clean that you are very good photographer. Thanks for sharing this lovely travel experience with us
    I went to Peru in spring of 2012 and the crown jewel of any Peruvian getaway is Machu Picchu. We also were able to snap a few pics with limited people since we waited out a rain storm. But we were treated to the clouds climbing up Machu Picchu which was beautiful!

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