Facts & figures

The Conga Project is owned by Minera Yanacocha S.R.L. (MYSRL). The main companies taking part in it are:
– Compañía de Minas Buenaventura (CMB, 43,65%)
– Newmont Mining Corporation (Newmont, 51,35%)
– International Finance Corporation (IFC, 5%).

The Conga Project comprises the exploitation of Perol and Chailhuagón, two goldbearing (Au) porphyry (Cu) deposits located east of the current Yanacocha operations. The ores will be extracted through open pit mining. The Conga Project is expected to enter production between the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015.

The Conga Project is located in the Andean north of Peru, approximately 73 km northeast of the city of Cajamarca and 585 km from the city of Lima, in the districts of Sorochuco and Huasmín in the Province of Celendín; and in the District of La Encañada in the Province of Cajamarca. The area associated with the development of the mining project comprises approximately 2.000 hectares, located in the natural region of Jalca, at an altitude that ranges between 3.700 to 4.262 meters.

woman near the Perol lake, one of the lakes that would be destroyed by Conga (Ernesto Benavides)

The project consists of the extraction of ore through large scale open pit mining. This type of  mining is generally asociated with a range of negative environmental impacts. The aspect of the Conga Project generating most controversy and opposition is its impact on the water resources in the area. In fact, the project will severely alter the surface drainage system and impact water bodies within the area, particularly in terms of ravines, rives basins and lakes.

According to the company, the Conga Project will employ around 900 to 6.000 workers during the construction stage (42 months). Labor for the operational stage is estimated at 1,660 people, including 1,174 employees and 486 contractors during the first 11 years of operation. The Conga Project will have a local hiring policy that will give priority to local personnel complying with the requirements of available jobs in the mine, to be applied at all project stages.

police defending the project's equipment

police defending the project's equipment (Reuters)

The Conga Project is part of the development of a mining district that contains different copper and gold deposits, most of which belong to MYSRL. Current mining operations of MYSRL are located in the mining zones of Cerro Negro, La Quinua, Cerro Yanacocha, Carachugo and Maqui Maqui, all located west of Yanacocha. The Conga Project will be one more mining zone of the Yanacocha complex, connected to the Maqui Maqui mining zone. Other deposits in the area are El Galeno (China Minmetals Corporation.), Michiquillay (Anglo American Exploration Peru S.A.), La Zanja (Compañía de Minas Buenaventura), Cerro Corona (Gold Fields), Tantahuatay (Compañía de Minas Buenaventura, Southern Perú Copper Corporation). The La Carpa and Amaro mining zones are considered on their turn future expansion zones for the Conga Project.

Almost 50 percent of the territory of Cajamarca has been concessioned to mining companies, the major part covering source areas of rivers.  78 percent of the population of Cajamarca is dependent of livestock and agriculture. The region of Cajamarca is the third producer of milk of Peru, an important producer of meat and the first for lentils and peas.