Washington, D.C. September 25, 2000 --
Just over three months after 151 kilograms of mercury was spilled from
a truck travelling from Minera Yanacocha SRL and Lima, Peru, the Office
of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman today released the report of the
Independent Commission convened to investigate the spill and its causes.
We believe this balanced report provides a timely, objective study of why
such a preventable incident occurred, said Meg Taylor, Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman
for the International Finance Corporation. The mine's shareholders should
be congratulated for asking for an independent review. I hope they will
now act to ensure that their practices and relationship with neighboring
communities are significantly strengthened, she added.
The report makes recommendations to the mine and its shareholders on actions
to prevent a similar incident in future, continuing action to mitigate
the effects of the spill and makes suggestions on any long-term adjustments
that may be needed, including monitoring of the health status of people
impacted by the spill.
Minera Yanacocha is owned by Newmont Mining Corporation of Denver, Colorado;
Minera Buenaventura of Peru, and the IFC. It is the largest gold mine in
Latin America in the province of Cajamarca in Northern Peru.
On June 2, 151 kilograms of liquid mercury was spilled from a truck delivering
mercury mined as a by-product of gold at Yanacocha, to a warehouse in Lima,
to be sold to a vendor. The mercury was spilled along the main highway
from Cajamarca to the coast, including in the communities of San Juan,
Choropampa, and Magdalena. Almost 300 people were found to have suffered
some degree of mercury poisoning.
The independent commission was asked to establish the events relating to
the spill of hazardous substances and the reasons for the spill. The Independent
Commission was chaired by Manuel Rodriguez, former Minister of Environment
The Office of the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO) was established in
June 1999 to receive complaints of people directly affected by projects
financed by IFC and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
The CAO reports directly to the President of the World Bank Group, James
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private
sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and
improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the
developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
Questions related to the Independent Commission should be addressed directly
to the Office of the CAO.
Contact information for the Office of the CAO:
Phone: (202) 458-9452, (202) 458-5237
Fax: (202) 522-7400