Decision : CONF 204 IV.B.37
Huascaran National Park (Peru)
At its twenty-second session, the Bureau was informed that a Canadian/Peruvian mining consortium was in the final stages of obtaining approval to develop one of the world's largest copper and zinc deposits found at Antamina, located 20 km east of this Park. Mining will commence in 2001 and proceed for 20 years. The Bureau noted that the concentrates may be transported from the mining site to the coast, either via a Central Road that traverses the Park, or an alternative Southern Road encircling the Park. The mining company had agreed to use the Southern Road, which is outside the Park, but traverses the buffer zone of the Huascaran World Heritage site and the Biosphere Reserve. No EIA has been carried out for the use of the Southern Road so far. The Central Road would, however, be used for bringing heavy equipment to the mining area for approximately one year, until the construction of a by-pass along the Southern Road is completed to allow for the transport of such equipment along that road. IUCN underlined the importance of monitoring all impacts of the use of the Central Road during the one-year period. The Bureau took note of the different options for accessing the mining area and the preference of INRENA to use the Southern Road. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to collaborate with the State Party to control impacts of the temporary use of the Central Road through the Park until the Southern Road becomes fully operational.
In November 1998 the Bureau was informed that a «Working Group» on the management of the site had been established by INRENA and representatives from the IUCN Office in Peru had participated in its meetings. This «Working Group» on the management of the site, particularly to oversee the use of the Central Road, will work independently from the Antamina Mining Company and will invite local participation. Antamina has confirmed that it will complete the construction of the bypass along the Southern Road by July 1999, provide traffic estimates and expressed an interest in the use of the Central and Northern Roads for vehicles transporting personnel.
The Bureau, while commending the Government of Peru for establishing a «Working Group», was however concerned over the permanent use of the Central and Northern Road for the transport of the mine personnel.
IUCN noted that the Antamina Mining Project is progressing rapidly and that there is renewed discussion of developing a pipeline for mineral transport. No specific route has been chosen for the pipeline. However, it poses another serious potential environmental threat to the Park. NGOs have raised their strong concerns with IUCN about the effectiveness of the «Working Group» and have encouraged the fielding of an IUCN/UNESCO mission to the site to ascertain current status and to derive clear recommendations to the Committee and the Bureau. IUCN informed the Bureau of the efforts of the State Party in examining solutions to minimise impacts of the road through the Park. The key issue is increased visitation associated with the road and IUCN recommended the preparation of a visitor management plan for the Park. The reports from the State Party indicate areas for immediate restoration and also key issues that need attention. These provide an excellent basis for a prioritised action plan. Considering uncertainties expressed recently about the impact and the use of the Central Road, IUCN recommended a joint IUCN/Centre mission to the site, noting at the same time that not all missions recommended by the Bureau could be carried out in 1999.
The Director of INRENA provided, via letter of 9 June 1999, two information documents: (a) on the temporary use of the Pachacoto-Yanashallay Route across Huascaran National Park (November 1998 to May 1999) and (b) information on the Working Group, prepared by the Mountain Institute (1 June 1999). Both have been transmitted to IUCN for review.
The Observer of Peru stated that her Government is trying to minimize all impacts related to the use of the Central Road and that by the end of the month the new road may be in use. She welcomed the proposal of the Bureau to field a mission and reiterated her Government’s will to work closely with UNESCO and IUCN to protect the very special natural resources of the site. She also informed the Bureau that a glaciology unit has been created in INRENA, to prevent any threat to the highest mountains, which have permanent snow.
Following the review of the new information provided, the Bureau acknowledged the efforts by the State Party and recognised the willingness of authorities in seeking solutions to minimise the impacts on the Park from the temporary use of the Central Road. The Bureau encouraged the State Party to give high priority to the preparation and implementation of a restoration programme and to submit a request for technical assistance. The Bureau furthermore encouraged the State Party to give priority attention to implement key actions as proposed by IUCN and to provide regular progress reports on its implementation, including progress achieved in the implementation of key priorities identified by the working group established on the use of the Pachacoto-Yanashallay road. The Bureau requested the State Party to submit the first of these reports by 15 September 1999 and IUCN and the Centre to prepare a mission to be carried out in 1999/2000.