FAQs | Preguntas Frecuentes

Frequently Asked Questions (English) / Preguntas Frecuentes (Español)

This document addresses some of the frequently asked and key questions that have been raised by stakeholders.

RESOLVE, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to multi-stakeholder consensus building, is conducting an independent fact-finding mission into the human rights questions raised regarding a land dispute in Peru between Ms. Maxima Acuña de Chaupe and Minera Yanacocha S.R.L, of which Newmont Mining holds a 51% interest. 

About the purpose of the Mission

What is the objective of the Mission?

The Yanacocha Independent Fact Finding Mission (YIFFM) will seek to establish an understanding of the situation and provide an independent examination of Newmont’s adherence with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights in the dispute concerning Ms. Acuña de Chaupe. 

For a general overview of the YIFFM, see the YIFFM Fact Sheet. For a description of RESOLVE’s approach to fact finding, see the RESOLVE Approach document.

About the origin of the Mission

Why is RESOLVE conducting the Yanacocha Independent Fact-Finding Mission?

As an independent nonprofit organization with an over 35-year history of success in working as a neutral third-party convener on a range of environmental, social, and health challenges, RESOLVE brings unique qualifications and expertise in resolving difficult issues and maintaining a balanced perspective in the midst of contention. The RESOLVE approach to fact finding involves consultation and communication with diverse stakeholders and experts throughout the stages of research design, execution, analysis, and delivery of results, with the goal of gathering information and developing a final report that is credible to all parties. In addition to increasing the potential to reach agreements and find solutions, the process typically builds relationships and improves cross-sector understanding of complex issues.

Why is Newmont supporting the YIFFM?

The mission is a response to the concerns raised by international NGOs concerning reports of human rights violations in the case of the dispute between Yanacocha and Sra. Acuña de Chaupe over the site Tragadero Grande.

About the dispute (ie. the problem/situation that has led to the requirement for the mission)

Why is there a dispute between the Chaupes and Yanacocha?

The dispute is about land ownership and the measures that Yanacocha has taken in connection with this dispute. International non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have reported that the human rights of Ms. Maxima Acuña de Chaupe are at risk because of this dispute and have expressed concern that the risks are connected to the behavior of the mining company. In particular, it has been alleged that Yanacocha’s relationship with Peruvian security forces was inconsistent with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, leading to threats, intimidation, and possibly the forcible eviction of Ms. Acuña de Chaupe from her house. As a result, the commitment of Newmont to its stated human rights principles and its adherence to international human rights standards have been questioned.  

How will the mission affect the dispute between the Chaupe family and Newmont?

The purpose of the mission is fact finding, not mediation. At the same time, a report that objectively presents the underlying facts can increase the probability of identifying solutions and reaching agreements. The Mission Team’s observations and recommendations will be directed solely to Newmont, which is the operator of Yanacocha.

About the method of work of the Mission

How did the YIFFM conduct its work?

The Mission included extensive document review and consultations, both internationally and in Peru; the fieldwork phase took place in Peru September, 2015 (including travel to Cajamarca) and conducted a defined program of consultations, meetings and interviews in Cajamarca and Lima. The report is currently being prepared for publication.

The mission is composed of a four person team, led by Tim Martin. Team members are Miguel Cervantes Rodríguez, Dana Goodson and Myriam Mendez-Montalvo. In addition, the Mission was supported by an Advisory Group which includes Carlos Monge, Gino Costa, Deanna Kemp and Anthony Bebbington. The profiles of the team members can be found at Mission Team.

What is the Advisory Group?

To assure the independence of the Mission, a multi-sector Advisory Group was established composed of leaders recognized for their experience and knowledge in subjects related to the work of the mission. The advisors are individuals of recognized integrity who reviewed and advised on key aspects of the mission, including its financial records and report.

The members of the Advisory Group were selected as individuals, and not as representatives of organizations or associations. They were invited by Team leader Tim Martin to participate and signed an agreement with RESOLVE for this purpose.

The members of the Advisory Group reviewed and commented on the terms of reference of the mission, its program of work, the risk assessment and mitigation plan; the financial records of the mission and the draft report, including its conclusions. 

What will be the result of the YIFFM?

The mission report provides answers to the following key questions:

  1. What was the process of land acquisition by Minera Yanacocha, and was the process of land acquisition appropriate, reasonable and in conformance with applicable international standards?
  2. What are the facts relevant to complaints that human rights have been violated and do NGOs and Newmont have access to all of the relevant information in this case?
  3. Has Minera Yanacocha’s conduct conformed to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights?
  4. Are there areas where Minera Yanacocha deviated from Newmont policy requirements and international standards?

After completing the document review and field work, the Mission Team produced a report, which was shared with the Advisory Group for review and comment, then finalized and publicly released.

How will the results of the mission be communicated?

The report of the mission will be publicly available in English and Spanish on the RESOLVE website. RESOLVE will announce its availability and key results in a press release. In addition to the public release, RESOLVE will convey the findings to Newmont, Yanacocha, and members of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

About the Chaupe Family

How will the YIFFM affect the Chaupe Family?

It was important for the  Mission Team to understand the experiences, concerns and perspectives of the Chaupe family. The Mission Team met with members of the Chaupe family under the circumstances of their choosing, and has included the information that they and their attorney chose to provide in the Mission report. The Mission will not seek to mediate the dispute, or in any way affect the court processes currently underway.

Has the Chaupe family been informed of the YIFFM? What role do they have in the YIFFM?

The Chaupe family was informed of the mission at its outset. The Mission Team met with the Chaupe family members under the conditions the Chaupes chose.

About the Financing of the Mission

Who is funding the Mission?

The principles of independence and transparency are essential to the mission, and RESOLVE has experience in organizing many similar processes adhering to these principles. Newmont provided funds for the YIFFM, which were transferred to RESOLVE at mission start-up. Once transferred, the funds were under the sole authority and direction of RESOLVE. Mr. Martin had full discretion and independence to conduct the fact-finding work as he saw fit, with no interference from Newmont/Yanacocha. All financial records relevant to the project will be shared with the advisory group to ensure transparency.  

How will the YIFFM be independent if Newmont is funding it?

The agreement between RESOLVE and Newmont provides for the full independence of YIFFM Team Leader Tim Martin. The financing of the mission is not conditional on specific activities or outcomes of the mission. RESOLVE is committed to a fully independent process with integrity and credibility. There are no confidentiality and no non-disclosure clauses contained in the agreement between RESOLVE and Newmont.

How much did Newmont pay RESOLVE for the Mission?      

The budget of the mission includes compensation for the time of the team members at current market rates plus their direct costs (travel, accommodation, and meals). Advisory group members have been offered an honorarium in acknowledgement of their time and expertise dedicated to the mission.  Some members preferred to participate on a Pro Bono basis. Logistical and translation costs were also included in the project budget. The financial records of the mission will be provided to the Advisory group for independent scrutiny.

How does the presence of former Newmont employee Dave Baker on the RESOLVE board affect the independence of the mission?

Given the nature of RESOLVE’s work, which often involves sensitive stakeholder issues, and RESOLVE’s desire to draw on perspectives from many sectors on its board there is the potential for real or perceived conflicts of interest. For example, RESOLVE could facilitate stakeholders input as part of a government rule making, and former official from that agency serve on RESOLVE’s board; undertake an independent assessment of a site-based stakeholder dispute while board members have direct or indirect relationships with some of those involved; or undertake a stakeholder research project relevant to past or current work of board members.

RESOLVE’s board rules and operating procedures are designed with these potential issues in mind. First, the RESOLVE Board works at a policy level and provides broad strategic direction. It is the responsibility of the staff to manage all of RESOLVE’s operations, programs, and projects. Board members are not involved with, nor are they consulted on, specific projects. There is a specific conflict of interest policy in place to protect stakeholder interests. Second, board members are required to disclose real or perceived conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from any discussion of these issues. Third, when appropriate, board members may take a leave of absence from board decision-making. During this leave of absence, they will still receive general board materials such as financial reports and board minutes but will not be an active participant in board decision-making.

With regard to this project, Dave Baker, due to his previous role at Newmont, has taken such a leave of absence, which will run from the initiation of the fact-finding mission through to the presentation of findings. The board has not received any material related to this issue, nor will they, until the mission report is publicly available, other than those posted publicly.  

About the selection of participants in the work of the Mission

Who has provided input into the YIFFM to date?

Tim Martin has undertaken broad consultations in Peru and internationally with respect to the conduct of the YIFFM. This has included the principal Peruvian and international NGOs engaged in the issue, internationally recognized experts and representatives of the Government of Peru. Newmont and Yanacocha have provided all information and access to officials requested to date.

How were the Mission Team and Advisory Group members selected?

The YIFFM Team Leader, Tim Martin, consulted broadly with stakeholders in the planning phase of the mission. This included consultations with NGOs who have an interest in the dispute between Yanacocha and the Chaupe family. Mr. Martin asked these stakeholders to suggest candidates for the Mission Team and Advisory Group.

Terms of reference (TORs) were developed for the Mission Team that stipulated the following criteria and attributes for team members:

  • highly reputable, recognized for integrity and professionalism
  • possessing the ability to keep an open mind and be led by the evidence
  • sensitive to the role of differing perceptions and the multi-faceted nature of the truth
  • trustworthy and possessing the ability to gain the confidence of interlocutors
  • discreet, with the ability to respect confidentiality when needed
  • not subject to any potential conflicts of interest in the anticipated role (e.g., being a current or previous employee of Newmont/Yanacocha or having a close personal relationship to the Chaupe family)

The TORs also established the following competencies for team members:

  • knowledge of international human rights standards and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights in particular
  • knowledge of the mining sector, and preferably its operations in Latin America
  • excellent communication and writing skills
  • ability to work in multi-stakeholder team and make decisions by consensus
  • willingness to travel to Peru in the September/October 2015 timeframe

Based on these criteria and drawing on stakeholder recommendations, Mr. Martin identified the best-suited candidates, reviewed the requirements of the work in the context of their qualifications, consulted further, and made a final selection. The Mission Team members, Myriam Mendez-Montalvo and Miguel Cervantes Rodriguez, have been selected for their relevant experience and knowledge.

Mr. Martin used a similar process to invite respected senior leaders from industry and civil society to join the Advisory Group. The purpose of the Advisory Group is to assure mission independence, integrity, and credibility. The members of the Advisory Group have been selected as individuals, for their particular experience. They do not represent organizations, associations, or constituencies.

How is the YIFFM ensuring that that the participants (Mission Team, Advisory Group) do not have a conflict of interest that would limit their objectivity?

Mission Team members have signed a contract that states they are “not subject to any potential conflicts of interest in the anticipated role (e.g., being a current or previous employee of Newmont/Yanacocha or having a close personal relationship to the Chaupe family).”

Advisory Group members sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that states, “Advisory Group members affirm that they do not have any current financial, personal, professional, or other interest with respect to parties to the dispute that would constitute, or create the perception of conflict of interest, with the work of the Advisory Group.”

How will the mission affect court cases underway concerning the dispute?

The mission is not a judicial investigation. Information collected will not meet evidentiary standards. It is not intended to have an impact on court cases.

Will the mission evaluate the conduct of NGOs and the government in this dispute?

The findings of the mission are directed to Newmont and Yanacocha.

About the cooperation of Newmont and Yanacocha with the work of the Mission

Did Yanacocha cooperate with the YIFFM?

The mission had the full cooperation from Newmont and Yanacocha.

What is the relationship of the mission to the Conga project?

The mission did not assess the merits of the Conga project. Its scope was confined to examining the conduct of Yanacocha with respect to its land dispute with the Chaupe family. At the same time, the Mission recognizes that the Conga project, and the tensions associated with it, are significant with respect to the context of the dispute.

How will Newmont respond to the report?

That will be Newmont’s decision. The report will be made public.

About the relationship between the Mission and the Government of Peru

How has the Peruvian government been involved in the mission?

Mr. Martin has formally provided information to the government of Peru at the outset of the Mission, and the Mission met with key government officials in the course of its work.


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