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
Open - Compliance


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. Hence, in accordance with its Operational Guidelines, CAO will conduct a compliance appraisal of IFC’s adherence to its own environmental and social policies regarding the project.




The case is being referred to CAO’s compliance for appraisal. 



Note: A CAO assessment does not entail a judgment on the merits of complaints.  Rather, the aim is to listen to people's concerns, understand the different perspectives, and determine what options are available to address the complaint through CAO's Dispute Resolution and Compliance functions.


Status as of June 15, 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: In Process