State of Conservation (SOC)
Huascarán National Park
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee
IUCN has informed the Centre 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 which is located 20km from this Park. Mining would commence in 2001 and have a life span of 20 years. An EIA has been conducted which notes that the concentrates from this mine will be transported via an existing road through the Park. This 40km section of the road rises over a pass at an elevation of 4800m and would be substantially upgraded to accommodate heavy truck traffic. The EIA acknowledges that there will be an increase in traffic volume through the Park and the mining consortium is intending to work with the Park authorities to better protect the endangered Puya raimondi vegetation. Officials in Parks Canada have also been consulted on mitigation measures.
Several local members of IUCN have expressed concern over the effects that a major industrial truck route would have on the integrity of the Park. A secondary concern would be that a precedent would be set to open up Huascaran to other mining and development interests. There is an optional route for the truck traffic that bypasses the Park and the feasibility of using this option is now being reviewed. In view of the urgency of the situation (hearings are scheduled 24 April in Peru on the EIA), IUCN has already written to the Peruvian authorities to express concern over the impacts of the road through the Park and the need to look at an alternative route.
Action RequiredThe Bureau expresses its concerns with regard to the mining proposal and its potential threats to the World Heritage site and requests the State Party for further information on the project and on measures being taken to protect the World Heritage site. The Bureau also invites the Canadian authorities to consider the possibility of contributing their expertise to the project component concerned with the World Heritage site, particularly to investigate the possibility of using alternative routes for transporting mining concentrates and to design and implement other mitigation measures as may be necessary.
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds
International Assistance granted to the property
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Ap proved: 75,400USD
|1993||Training and awareness-raising activities for Huascaran National ...||20,000 USD|
|1989||Elaboration of a Master Plan for the Management of Huascaran ...||20,000 USD|
|1986||Support for associated training activities for park wardens of ...||5,300 USD|
|1986||Financial support for the implementation of the management plan ...||30,100 USD|
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Possible Bill in Congress to reduce the level of legal protection (issue resolved)
- Inappropriate tourism development proposals (issue resolved)
- Overgrazing by domestic sheep (issue resolved)
- Excessive burning (issue resolved)
- Poaching by the military (issue resolved)
- Low financial resources (issue resolved)
- Cultural resources inventory of the site needed (issue resolved)
- New road proposal connected to mining activities
Current conservation issues
At its twenty-second session, the Bureau was informed 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 of this Park. Mining is expected to commence in 2001 and have a life span of 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 circling around the Park. The mining company had agreed to take the Southern Road, which is completely outside the Park, but traverses the buffer zones 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 bypass along the Southern Road is completed to allow for the transport of such heavy 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 expressed by 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. The Bureau suggested that a future mission to this site may be useful, and requested the State Party to provide a status report on the mining project to its twenty-second extraordinary session. The Bureau recommended that the State Party consider inviting a Representative of IUCN to be part of the “Working Group” being established by on the management of the site.
The Bureau agreed with the proposal of the Chairperson to establish a Study Group to reconcile environment and development needs and to use Huascaran as a case study which could provide guidance and lessons to other World Heritage sites whose integrity is threatened by potential mining projects. The Centre has proposed names of a number of experts, who may be included in the Study Group to be established for the consideration of the Chairperson. The Centre and IUCN had been invited by the International Council on Metals and the Environment (ICME) to a working session on “Mining and Protected Areas and other Ecologically Sensitive Sites” on 20 October 1998 in London, UK.
On 14 September 1998, INRENA informed the Centre that several meetings regarding the establishment of the “Working Group” on the management of the site were held. Representatives from the IUCN Office in Peru participated in the INRENA meetings. On 28 September 1998, additional information on the state of conservation of Huascaran National Park and the Huascaran Biosphere Reserve was submitted by the Permanent Delegation of Peru to UNESCO to the Centre. In addition, the Centre informed the Bureau that INRENA provided an update on the situation on 20 November 1998, indicating that the “Working Group” on the management of the site, (in particular to oversee the use of the Central Road) has been established. A meeting of the Working Group was held on 13 November 1998 with INRENA, IUCN Peru, MAB, Mountain Institute, Ministry for Energy and Mining and members of the consortium on “Mining, conservation and sustainable development”. The Group will work independently from the Antamina Mining Company and will invite local participation. Antamina confirmed to 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. It also committed itself to road maintenance and reaffirmed its support to the Park. An up-to-date report by Antamina was also provided concerning the agreement with the Government of Peru concluded on 16 September 1998 to develop the Antamina project. This project will create 4,000 jobs during the construction and 1,000 jobs during the twenty years of the mine. Antamina will provide information on the use of the Central Road including an addendum to the EIA, and the revised mine plan with rearrangements of waste storage.
Concerning the Study Group, the Chairperson pointed out that his intention was not to create a permanent group, which would involve financial costs. He suggested that a small and informal contact group during World Heritage Committee and Bureau meetings might be established. This suggestion was supported by a number of Bureau members. The Centre and IUCN informed the Bureau that a dialogue with the mining industry has commenced. IUCN’s World’s Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) has prepared a “Draft policy on mining and protected areas” which is currently being reviewed within the WCPA network and that consultations with UNESCO’s Division for Earth Sciences and the International Union for Geological Sciences have been undertaken. The Bureau requested that the Draft policy document be circulated prior to the next session of the Bureau. ICOMOS stressed the need to review impacts of mining on cultural sites as well.
Analysis and Conclusion
The Bureau commended the Government of Peru regarding actions taken to implement the recommendation of the Bureau to establish a Working Group on the management of the site and to control impacts of the temporary use of the Central Road through the Park until the Southern Road becomes fully operational. However, the Bureau expressed concern over the permanent use of the Central and Northern Road for the transport of the mine personnel. The Bureau requested the State Party to submit a copy of the additional EIA on the impacts of the use of the Central Road and the Northern Road to the Centre and IUCN and to provide a status report on the project by 15 April 1999.
Link to the decision
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.
No draft Decision
Huascarán National Park
- Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
- Ground transport infrastructure
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).