Compañía de Minas Buenaventura S.A.A., Peru’s largest publicly-traded precious metals mining company announced Minera Yanacocha S.R.L. (Peruvian gold producer held by Buenaventura 43.65%, Newmont 51.35% and the IFC 5%), in agreement with the Government of Peru, has suspended construction activities at the Conga project in Peru for the safety of employees and community members. During the past month, the Conga project has experienced intermittent work stoppages as a result of ongoing protests in the region.
Beginning in October 2011, anti-mining activists expressed concerns about perceived impacts of the project on the local water supply. The Conga Environmental Impact Assessment was approved in 2010 after extensive review by the Peruvian Government, which included significant engagement and consultation with local communities.
Buenaventura considers this a prudent decision to re-establish law and order in the Cajamarca Region that is under social unrest. The company believed that Conga is a feasible mineral deposit and that the well-being of the people in Cajamarca moving forward will depend on the development of this and other mineral deposits in the region. Buenaventura believes Yanacocha should continue working hard to develop the social acceptance of the project.
“Suspending construction activities in Conga does not mean that we do not believe in the project,” said Roque Benavides, CEO, Buenaventura. “We think this is the best thing we can do for the people in Cajamarca and for the country. Buenaventura is committed to Peru and will keep on working enthusiastically to develop new projects with a better social and environmental understanding in Peru.”