As you all know Yanacocha is the most significant and well-known mining company in this country. We always work hard to maintain our service delivery levels, quality at the same time keeping our reputation. It was unfortunate that an accident occurred involving our truck on June 2, 2000, spilling 11.1 liters of mercury on the Cajamarca – Pacasmayo road. As a company, we did recognize that this mercury spill in Choropampa, San Juan, and Magdalena caused some health problems to the individuals inhabiting these areas. We then carefully worked together with the Peruvian Health authorities to address and resolve these impacts. As the company’s board of directors, we have therefore determined to present to you a comprehensive statement from the company. The statement espouses on the plans to positively public image of the company and its ability to operate in Peru.
We did approach the accident with responsibility as a company and in that case, collaborated with the relevant bodies to address the issues that resulted due to the crash. An Environmental Risk Assessment Studies was conducted for two years and indeed confirmed that consistent efforts for remedial action were put in place in the affected areas and there was no contamination danger on the environment in the areas that were affected. It is equally important to put forth that the company does recognize that the health and the environmental protection of the people are of great value.
Indeed, as a company, we took some actions to address the impacts that resulted due to the accident. The very first actions were concerning the health of the inhabitants. After noticing the first actions of Mercury poisoning, with partnered with the Ministry of Health and started providing appropriate medical care. Approximately 4,000 individuals underwent medical examinations, and 935 were confident with over 20 micrograms/ liter of mercury in urine. We also coordinated with the relevant bodies in evaluating the impacts on the health of people that were affected. We did bring in the proper authorities and specialized in this task. In their final report, the specialists unanimously agreed that there was a moderate portion of acute poisoning case with no risks of future health problems due to the accident. On the same note, we took healthcare insurance for a five-year term for 1,173 inhabitants in the affected areas for their treatment of the problems related to mercury exposure.
Another strategy was setting a cleaning and recovery plan for the spilled mercury. We, therefore, laid down cleaning activities to recover the spilled mercury. We did improve 92.8% of the spilled mercury. There is a report on the above-recovered mercury as prepared by Professor Marcello Veiga. An Environmental Monitoring and Risk assessment was done to identify the possible environmental and health risks, and the report showed that the mercury level was always below the limits of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In the story, it was stipulated that the spilled mercury did not contaminate plants, soils, and the crops. Within the affected areas. Mercury did not pollute water and never reached the water rivers. No pollution risk reported, and the cleanup activities were very successful. The study was audited by an independent consulting firm EVS.
Lastly, a compensation program for the affected individuals was initiated as well as for the community. The community compensation entailed school improvement, water and drainage works, improvement of the medical costs and the streets. It also involved the development of the sports complex. From the hard and challenging situation that occurred, we as the company set up preventive measures. Concisely, we as the company has done our best and remains committed to ensuring that everything is fine.