On April 17, 2012, the Peruvian government received an independent, 248-page report from contracted consultants analyzing the hydrologic aspects of Minera Yanacocha’s Minas Conga gold mine project in Cajamarca province, Peru. Minera Yanacocha is owned 51.35% by Newmont, 43.65% by Buenaventura, and 5% by the World Bank’s International Finance Corp.
The project, which has estimated capital costs of about $4.8 billion, has been shut down since November 2011 due to protests directed primarily at its water storage plans, which call for four lakes on the property to be replaced by four water storage reservoirs. The report suggests, among other recommendations, that two of the lakes be left intact and that water storage capacity of the reservoirs be increased.
In a televised address to the nation on April 20, Peru’s President Ollanta Humala gave tentative approval to development of the Conga project, with the condition that its developers take additional measures to mitigate its hydrologic and environmental impact.
On April 21, Minera Yanacocha said in a press release that it will undertake a new evaluation of technical and economic alternatives for the project, as well as of ways to compensate for its hydrologic and environmental impact.
Production from the Minas Conga open-pit mine is planned to be in the range of 600,000 to 700,000 oz/y of gold and 160,000 to 240,000 lb/y of copper.