CAO Cases

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

Latin America & the Caribbean

Peru / Yanacocha-09/Cajamarca

Complainant
A group of current and former employees
Date Filed
January 27, 2017
Concerns
Occupational health and safety and information disclosure
Case Status
Open - Compliance
 

Synopsis

Project Overview
Minera Yanacocha S.R.L. (the company) operates a large open-pit gold mine located in the Andes mountains in the Department of Cajamarca, Peru. The company is engaged in the exploration and production of gold. Over a period from 1993 to 1999, IFC committed three loans to finance the capital expenditure programs for three of the company’s mines, Carachugo, Maqui Maqui and La Quinua. In parallel, IFC made an equity investment for a 5% ownership stake in the company. All loans were fully repaid by 2005. In December 2017, IFC sold its equity investment. 
 
Complaint
The complaint was filed in January 2017 by a former employee of Yanacocha, on behalf of himself and other current and former employees. The complainants raise concerns related to occupational health and safety conditions at the mine during their employment. They contend exposure to toxic gases has led to negative impacts on their health. The complaint also raises issues related to information disclosure and the company’s response to these issues.

 

CAO Action
CAO found the complaint eligible for further assessment in March 2017. Due to lack of agreement between the parties on pursuing a dispute resolution process facilitated by CAO, the complaint was referred for a compliance appraisal of IFC’s performance in August 2017 and merged with a subsequent complaint that addressed substantively similar issues [Yanacocha-10]. CAO concluded its joint compliance appraisal of the Yanacocha-09 and Yanacocha-10 complaints in November 2017 with a decision to trigger a compliance investigation.

 

CAO finalized its compliance investigation report in August 2019. Prior to each investment and during the course of IFC’s supervision, IFC was required to assure itself that the Company had appropriate occupational health and safety systems in place. CAO found that IFC identified occupational hygiene as a potential area of project risk, and referring to appropriate standards, IFC did not document an adequate pre-investment review of the Company’s occupational hygiene risk identification and mitigation framework, or its track record in the management of occupational hygiene risk.

 

In legally structuring its investments with the Company, IFC’s loan agreements included more stringent occupational hygiene requirements than were applicable at the time. This is an example of IFC going beyond the policy requirements. However, IFC did not include E&S requirements in its equity investment. As a result, during the period 2006-2017 after the company had repaid its loans to IFC, but during which time IFC continued to hold equity in the company, IFC’s investment did not have enforceable E&S requirements.

 

CAO finds material shortcomings in IFC’s supervision of the Company’s occupational hygiene performance throughout the period of its investment. Underlying these supervision findings, CAO notes that IFC did not possess or have access to occupational hygiene expertise sufficient to monitor the application of its requirements to a project of this scale and technical complexity.

 

On the question of impact, CAO has reviewed documentation shared by the complainants, the Company and IFC. The evidence available to CAO is insufficient to verify the complainants’ claims of adverse health impact caused by the project. At the same time, CAO finds that shortcomings in IFC supervision of the project contributed to this lack of evidence. A lack of access to information on project occupational hygiene performance and personal medical records, represents an adverse outcome that can be verified. While raised during the course of IFC’s supervision of the project, this issue had not been addressed by the time IFC exited its investment in the Company in 2017. Following a review of draft version of this investigation report, in August 2019, IFC management sent a letter to the company to request that they ensure that all individual medical records be provided to former employees upon request.

 

CAO’s compliance investigation report and IFC’s Official Response were published on February 24, 2020. The case is currently under CAO’s monitoring function. While the Company’s ongoing occupational hygiene performance falls outside the scope of IFC’s responsibility post divestment, CAO will monitor the effectiveness of measures taken by IFC to address adverse outcomes that arose during the period of its investment. In particular, CAO will monitor measures taken by IFC to ensure that the complainants are provided with their occupational medical records. 

 

All documents relating to this case are available under "View Documents" below.

 
Status
The case is currently under CAO’s compliance monitoring function.
 
Status as of February 24, 2020

Project information

Institution
IFC
Project Name & Number
Yanacocha 2983
Department
Oil, Gas, Mining, & Chemicals
Company
Minera Yanacocha S.A.
Sector
Mining
Region
Latin America & the Caribbean
Country
Peru
Environmental Category
A
Commitment
5% equity stake

Case Tracker

Ombudsman

  • Eligible: Completed
  • Assessment Period: In Process

Compliance

  • Under Appraisal: Completed
  • Under Audit: Completed
  • Monitoring: In Process