Yanacocha uses water in our operations, and we take steps to ensure local communities also have access to clean water.
We have a number of programs in place to ensure that we are controlling erosion and sediment, properly treating water and monitoring our operations.
Erosion and Sediment Control
Yanacocha operates in an area that receives heavy rainfall during the wet season, which can cause natural erosion and sediment movement in rivers. Due to the movement of earth in our operations, loose sediment can be washed away during heavy rain. We work to control sediment through 13 coils that are designed to capture rainwater that runs through our operations and limit the dirt that is carried downstream. We also use levees and other sediment control mechanisms, such as the Rio Rejo and Rio Grande dams.
Excess water from the rainy season, which runs between October and April, is treated at our Yanacocha Norte plant which uses reverse osmosis. The water is treated through a pressurized pumping system and tested to ensure that it meets water quality standards before being released to the environment.
In October 2006, the National Environment Council, the largest environmental organization in Peru, awarded Yanacocha the “National Award for Cleaner Production and Ecoefficiency.”
Other water treatment includes neutralizing naturally occurring acid water and providing wastewater treatment at 14 facilities located across our operation.
There are more than 200 internal monitoring stations as part of our monitoring network with some monitoring occurring every hour. We also carry out monitoring activities with community representatives and authorities present to increase public transparency.
Currently, there are eight monitoring programs to verify the analyses that Yanacocha conducts on local canals and rivers. Samples are sent to authorized laboratories, chosen by community representatives. The analyses are reported to the relevant authorities and participants involved in the sample collection process.
In addition to full transparency, one of the great advantages to community participation in our monitoring is that water users can be involved in a process that directly benefits them. The community representatives are trained in monitoring and identifying specific concerns related to water quality.
Reservoirs and Dams
In a joint effort between the Municipality of Banos del Inca, the Watershed Institute and Yanacocha, we have built more than 340 family reservoirs for 520 families. . These small reservoirs have the capacity to store an average of 1,300 cubic meters. The goal is to maximize agricultural production during the dry season by providing additional water and modern irrigation to help farming families.
Larger dams, such as the Rio Grande Dam and the Rio Rejo Dam, are designed to control sediment and store water during the rainy season. The San Jose Reservoir serves the agricultural community as well.