Yanacocha Mine, Peru

Minera Yanacocha arrived and still expand its operation in despite of the opposition . Contamination remain-


Yanacocha is an open-pit, cyanide gold mine located 3,900 metres above sea level in Cajamarca. The site is operated by American multinational Newmont Mining Corporation, Peruvian company Minas Buenaventura (part of the Benavides group) and the World Bank International Finance Corporation (IFC). Local residents complained against land grabbing and water pollution from the beginning of operations in Bambamarca and other communities. Three people were killed by protests against the dam construction of El Azufre in year 2006. Accidents included a large mercury spill in Choropampa. Expansion of mining to the Cerro Quilish was stopped. In 2012, a big conflict with several deaths has exploded over a nearby project owned by the same company in Conga. Cajamarca remains one of Perus poorest areas. Since Quilish, Yanacocha has expanded and open new open pits like in La Encañada and Baños del Inca district. These operations create a permanent conflict with the population that claims agaisnt pollution, no prior consultation, land destruction, even constitute a threat to archeological ruins as the Inca's Bad.. But Yanacocha still finance local projects as infraestructure (school, health), social (women  leadership, alternative rondas campesinas) , training (veterinary, milk production) and so on with the objective to reach the "social lisense" and to divide the population. Yanacocha initiated a process against the community of San Pablo (Cajamarca) that protect their lake (San Pablo lake)

Basic Data
NameYanacocha Mine, Peru
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsSecond largest gold mine in the world. About 250 sq.km. Run by the Newmont Mining Corporation, a Denver, Colorado-based company, the worlds second largest gold mining firm. Together with Buenaventura, a Peruvian company, and the IFC of the World Bank. Annual production, about 3 million ounces of gold.

In year 2018, IFC sold his actions to the Sumitomo Company of Japan.

The first open pit was Carachugo, then Yanacocha este, Yanacocha Oeste, La Quinua, Cerro Negro, El Tapado, San José I and II, Chaquicocha, Quecher y Maqui Maqui. The gold production is still descend (980 000 oz in 2014, 450 000 oz in 2018) and Yanacocha want to continue with her expansion.
Project Area (in hectares)18,374
Level of Investment (in USD)990,000,000 (initially)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population348 000
Start Date1992
Company Names or State EnterprisesNewmont Mining Corporation from United States of America
Buenaventura from Peru
Sumitomo Corporation from Japan
Relevant government actorsMunicipality of Cajamarca, Digesa - General Directorate of Environmental Health, Ministry for Environment, Ministry for Energy and Mining, Gobierno Regional de Cajamarca, PCM
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersComunidades Rurales de Cajamarca, OCMAL, GRUFIDES (Cajamarca), Green Network Cajamarca, Rondas campesinas, Frente de Defensa Ambiental de Cajamarca
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil erosion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesStopping mining activity (at least in some areas) and the restoration of the area. Drinkwater should better filtered and decontaminated. Water quality for the agriculture should garanteed. Yanacocha should stopp the communities division and respect local reglamentation (as in Lagunas de San Pablo case) as international laws (169 OIT)
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The Yanacocha continue their activity in the area, while some people have been killed or arrested (including Marco Arana, a leader of the anti-mining movement). Some other people are criminalized, communities defend theirselves at the courts against Yanacocha denunciations.
Sources and Materials

EIA de uno de los proyectos de Yanacocha
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Hacia una Estimacion de los Efectos de la Actividad Minera en los Indices de Pobreza en el Per. Torres Victor. 2005.

Minera y Comunidades Testimonios Orales y Grficos. Cooperaccion. 2000

'Open Pit', A film by Gianni Converso. Produced by Daniel Santana and Gianni Converso. Available at
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Choropampa, el precio del oro by Guarango Films
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Yanacocha, el sueño dorado? Tomo I de Reinhard Seifert
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Yanacocha, el sueño dorado ? Tomo II, de Reinhard Seifert
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Enfrentamientos violentos en Carachugo II, proyecto de expansión de Minera Yanacocha en el Perú, 06/08/2006
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Media Links

Testimonio grafico de las actividades mineras en Yanacocha y de la protesta del pueblo de Cajamarca.
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Cajamarca vs Minera Yanacocha en Fotos

Las lagunas de San Pablo, propuesta Ramsar
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Other Documents

el nuevo Perú photo that shows Peru as an open pit
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En defensa del Quilish Protests against Yanacocha project
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update10/04/2019