CAO Cases

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

Latin America & the Caribbean

Peru / Yanacocha-11/Cajamarca

A group of former employees
Date Filed
December 06, 2017
Community health and environmental pollution
Case Status


Project Overview
Minera Yanacocha S.R.L. is a large open-pit gold mine located in the Andes mountains, in the Department of Cajamarca, Peru. Over a period from 1993 to 1999, IFC committed two loans to finance the capital expenditure programs for three of the Company’s mines, Carachugo, Maqui Maqui and La Quinua and made an equity investment for a 5% ownership stake in the Company.  In December 2017, following 24 years of engagement with Minera Yanacocha as a lender and equity investor, IFC sold its 5% stake in the company to project partners Newmont and Buenaventura.  




Since 2000, the CAO has received 11 complaints regarding the Minera Yanacocha project in Cajamarca. The issues raised in each complaint have varied, including issues related to quality of life, water quality and access, land acquisition and compensation, labor concerns, occupational health and safety, information disclosure, and environmental impacts. The first three Yanacocha complaints were addressed through CAO dispute resolution processes. CAO conducted a joint compliance investigation of IFC’s performance related to the 4th, 6th, and 7th complaints. The fifth Yanacocha complaint was closed after a compliance appraisal and CAO conducted a joint compliance appraisal of the Yanacocha-09 and Yanacocha-10 complaints, and is currently conducting a joint investigation. 



This 11th complaint was filed to CAO in December 2017 by an individual on behalf of himself and several former employees of the company. The complaint raised concerns in relation to environmental conditions at the La Quinua mine and potential negative environmental conditions at the proposed Conga mine. Complainants expressed concerns that the project contaminated local water sources by discharging cyanide solutions into the local sources of water, resulting in damaging conversion of wetlands and impacts on farming and livestock activities. The complainants felt these activities negatively impacted the lives of workers, former workers, and the community at large.



CAO Action
CAO found the complaint eligible for assessment in January 2018. During the assessment process, the complainants and the company informed the CAO of their preference for the case to be handled by CAO’s Compliance Function. In October 2018 CAO released a compliance appraisal report in relation to the Yanacocha-11 complaint. CAO has determined that the environmental concerns raised in the Yanacocha-11 complaint do not merit a CAO compliance investigation. In making this determination CAO finds that there is a lack of evidence to support a conclusion that the Company’s operations have resulted in significant adverse environmental outcomes as a result of air and water emissions as alleged by the complainants. Issues raised by the complainants regarding impacts on their health as a result of their employment for the Company were not considered as part of this appraisal as they are being considered under CAO’s ongoing investigation of the Yanacocha-09 & -10 complaints. 



The case is closed as of October 2018 after compliance appraisal.


Status as of October 29, 2018

Project information

Project Name & Number
Yanacocha 2983
Oil, Gas, Mining, & Chemicals
Minera Yanacocha S.A.
Latin America & the Caribbean
Environmental Category
5% equity stake

Case Tracker


  • Eligible: Completed
  • Assessment Period: Completed


  • Under Appraisal: Closed