A group of current and former employees
Occupational health and safety and information disclosure
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.
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 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 found material shortcomings in IFC’s supervision of the Company’s occupational hygiene performance throughout the period of its investment. Underlying these supervision findings, CAO noted 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 reviewed documentation shared by the complainants, the Company and IFC. The evidence available to CAO was insufficient to verify the complainants’ claims of adverse health impact caused by the project. At the same time, CAO found 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 was not addressed by the time IFC exited its investment in the Company in 2017. 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.
In December 2020, CAO released its first monitoring report. Since the investigation, IFC engaged with the Company in order to address allegations by the Complainants that they do not have access to their medical records. In an update to CAO, the Company noted that in July 2020 it had a procedure for former workers to request and receive their medical records and that this had recently been communicated to workers. The Yanacocha-09 complainant representative maintains that the former workers have still not received access to their medical records, however, it is unclear whether they made a request to the Company since completion of the CAO compliance investigation. The Yanacocha-10 complainant representative asserted that they no longer want to be involved in the CAO process preferring to pursue a judicial process.
While it remains unclear whether the Complainants have obtained their medical records, CAO has decided to close its monitoring of the investigation considering the actions reported by IFC and the Company, and considering that IFC no longer has an investment in the Company. CAO found IFC’s response to this compliance investigation was satisfactory.
All documents relating to this case are available under "View Documents" below.
The case was closed in December 2020.
Status as of December 10, 2020