Newmont's Sustainability Practices in Action: Water in Peru

Oct 2, 2017 2:30 PM ET

Newmont | Our Voice Blog

The region of Cajamarca, located in northern Peru, is home to many rural communities whose residents depend on agriculture. From May to October, the region sees little to no rainfall creating drought-like conditions impacting agricultural production and livestock grazing. This annual dry season also impacts life in the City of Cajamarca, where inadequate water infrastructure means many households only have access to running water for a few hours day.

In contrast, Cajamarca’s rainy season, which runs from October through March, brings approximately 200 million cubic meters of water to the region each year. Newmont is committed to helping the region capture and store more of that water by investing in storage and system infrastructure that will support year-round water availability. Doing so will help crop production throughout the year while improving running water availability for homes in the city during the dry season.

In 2013 we completed a $12.5 million project doubling the storage capacity of a lake near our Yanacocha operation by transforming it into a natural reservoir. The Chailhuagon reservoir now holds 2.6 million cubic meters of water, serves more than 10,000 people in local communities, and provides water year-round for five irrigation canals and 26 multi-family reservoirs.

Since 2006, Yanacocha has also built 375 multi-family reservoirs that feed 422 hectares of crops and pastures, supporting more than 700 families. Irrigation systems installed on 1,900+ hectares of farmland now support 7,000 people, with more than 112 kilometers of irrigation canals lined and/or upgraded for proper drainage. Yanacocha has also been instrumental in improving rural access to potable water. Sixty-seven drinking water systems have been built, 35 have been expanded and 25 have been upgraded for the benefit of more than 9,000 rural families. 

To meet new government water regulations, Yanacocha is investing roughly $235 million in upgrades to its water treatment facilities, a move that will further improve the quality of water discharged.

Yanacocha has invested more than $12 million in 11 projects that have improved the drinking water system in the city of Cajamarca. This joint effort with Sedacaj (the institution responsible for providing drinking water to the city) and the municipality of Cajamarca has increased local water access, adding more hours of running water per day for Cajamarca residents.