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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. 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

Name of conflict:Yanacocha Mine, Peru
State or province:Cajamarca
Location of conflict:Cajamarca
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:Gold

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Second largest gold mine in the world. About 250 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:18,374
Level of Investment for the conflictive project990,000,000 (initially)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:348 000
Start of the conflict:1992
Company names or state enterprises:Newmont Mining Corporation from United States of America
Buenaventura from Peru
Sumitomo Corporation from Japan
Relevant government actors:Municipality of Cajamarca, Digesa - General Directorate of Environmental Health, Ministry for Environment, Ministry for Energy and Mining, Gobierno Regional de Cajamarca, PCM
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Comunidades Rurales de Cajamarca, OCMAL, GRUFIDES (Cajamarca), Green Network Cajamarca, Rondas campesinas, Frente de Defensa Ambiental de Cajamarca

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
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-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:Stopping 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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

EIA de uno de los proyectos de Yanacocha

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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

Yanacocha, el sueño dorado ? Tomo II, de Reinhard Seifert

Choropampa, el precio del oro by Guarango Films

Yanacocha, el sueño dorado? Tomo I de Reinhard Seifert

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

Enfrentamientos violentos en Carachugo II, proyecto de expansión de Minera Yanacocha en el Perú, 06/08/2006

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Cajamarca vs Minera Yanacocha en Fotos

Las lagunas de San Pablo, propuesta Ramsar

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

Meta information

Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:477



Pictures on the mining site


el nuevo Perú

photo that shows Peru as an open pit

En defensa del Quilish

Protests against Yanacocha project