Decision : CONF 201 V.B.28
Huascaran National Park (Peru)
The Bureau noted that a Canadian/Peruvian mining consortium is in the final stages of obtaining approval to develop one of the world's largest copper and zinc deposits found at Antamina, located 20km east from this Park. Mining would commence in 2001 and have a life span of 20 years. The concentrates from this mine would be transported either via an existing road through or around the Park to the coast.
The Bureau noted the Centre’s consultations with INRENA (Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales), the site managers and NGOs during a recent mission to Peru, and that a meeting with two representatives of the mining company, the Permanent Delegation of Peru to UNESCO, INRENA and representatives from the Centre and UNESCO’s Division of Ecological Sciences took place on 19 June 1998. The meeting reviewed the situation and the three options of road access, the Northern Road, the Central Road and the Southern Road. For the Central Route an EIA had been undertaken. Meanwhile the mining company agreed to take the so-called Southern Route, which is completely outside the Park, but however traverses the buffer zones of the World Heritage site and the Biosphere Reserve. This alternative proposal is preferred by a number of groups, including IUCN and INRENA. No EIA has been carried out for the use of the Southern Route so far. In addition, the Central Route would be used for heavy equipment to be brought to the mining area for approximately one year, until a bypass at the Southern Route has been made. IUCN underlined that all impacts, especially the temporary use of the Central Route during the one-year period, should be closely monitored.
Several Bureau members stated that the efforts made by the State Party and the mining company should be recognised; however a number of issues should be addressed, taking into account the necessity for social development of the region. The Chairperson proposed to use the situation at Huascaran as a model to establish a Study Group to reconcile environment and development and to review it as a case study which could be useful as guidance and advice to other World Heritage sites which face potential mining projects. He furthermore suggested that a mission to the site might be useful in future.
The Observer of Peru emphasised that the mining operation is important for his Government as it takes place in one of the poorest regions of Peru. The collaboration between INRENA, the private sector, IUCN, the Mountain Institute, the Centre and the State Party should be taken as a good example for the protection of the Park under the Convention.
The Bureau took note of the different options for accessing the mining area and the preference expressed by INRENA to use the Southern Road, and requested the Centre and IUCN to collaborate with the State Party to control impacts of the temporary use of the road through the Park until the Southern Route becomes available. The Bureau requested the State Party to provide a status report on the situation in time for the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau and to consider that a Representative of IUCN be part of the “Working Group” being established by INRENA on the management of the site.
Noting the number of cases coming forward from various countries where mining projects may affect World Heritage sites, the Bureau furthermore requested the Centre and IUCN and ICOMOS to collaborate with the Chairperson in the setting up of a study group to examine all issues involved with mining projects with a potential to affect World Heritage sites, in order to establish principles which would guide the Committee’s future work in this regard.