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Case study – Cerro Corona

Case study – Cerro Corona

Cerro Corona Mine in Peru


In a mere five years, Gold Fields’ state-of-the-art Cerro Corona Mine in Peru has become one of the star performers in the company’s suite of assets. Currently producing about 90,000 ounces of gold a quarter at a notional cash expenditure of just over US$500/oz, this mine has become a model of operational and financial viability. But it’s also a role model for cradle-to-grave sustainable development. Considering its humble beginnings as a derelict mine site, the successful development of Cerro Corona can be attributed to a large extent to applying best sustainable development practice from the early exploration stage to the ramp-up to full production.


Early on, significant investments were made to ensure the sustainability of the proposed operation. These investments took many forms, from engaging the local communities to best practice with regard to environmental management. It was underpinned by a commitment to sound governance principles. Even before the mine reached its prefeasibility stage, extensive engagement with local communities and providing early job opportunities created the basis for sound development. Many hours were spent discussing the plans for the mine with local community members, leading to long-term agreements that prioritised local suppliers and employees, socio-economic and enterprise development, as well as a focus on best environmental management practice.

Today Cerro Corona is a working model for sustainable development and a mine that lives our credo of being the global leader in sustainable gold mining. Its successes over the past five years include:

  • An outstanding safety performance confirmed by OHSAS 18001 certification and a number of local and national safety awards.
  • ISO 14001 certification for its environmental management system; again the mine has achieved awards for its environmental performance.
  • The establishment of a range of socio-economic investments ranging from the provision of education facilities to the development of alternative livelihood projects. Investments in agricultural projects in the area stand out. These projects have seen, amongst others, a 50 per cent rise in farmers’ meat production, a considerably higher yield from pasture land, an artificial cattle insemination programme and construction of a US$400,000 dairy plant.
  • Employment has been created for local community members either through direct employment or by supporting the use of local suppliers and contractors. Many of our suppliers have used their Gold Fields contracts to grow their operations to provide services to other companies in the area and increase their employment of local labour (see case study page 121).
  • Permanent engagement structures have been established to ensure ongoing positive relations with our stakeholders.
  • Best practice governance policies and systems.
  • A comprehensive risk management system which evaluates potential risks and ensures that mitigatory actions are in place.
  • The Gold Fields code of ethics is entrenched and anonymous tip-off service providers have been established.
  • A human rights training toolkit has been developed and is being integrated into training processes. Associated grievance mechanisms have been implemented that cater for disputes with external as well as internal parties.