Yanacocha Mine, Peru


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. 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.

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.
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1992
Company Names or State EnterprisesNewmont Mining Corporation from United States of America
Buenaventura from Peru
Relevant government actorsMunicipality of Cajamarca, Digesa - General Directorate of Environmental Health, Ministry for Environment, Ministry for Energy and Mining
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
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
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
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
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
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
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
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.
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).
Sources and Materials

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
[click to view]


Enfrentamientos violentos en Carachugo II, proyecto de expansión de Minera Yanacocha en el Perú, 06/08/2006
[click to view]

Media Links

Testimonio grafico de las actividades mineras en Yanacocha y de la protesta del pueblo de Cajamarca.
[click to view]

Cajamarca vs Minera Yanacocha en Fotos

Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update24/11/2015