Development of La Oroya
The Metallurgical Complex of La Oroya was built in 1922 in a previously uninhabited crossroads 3,700 meters above sea level, located between the city of Lima, the port of El Callao and the mines of the Cerro de Pasco Corporation. Over time, the city of La Oroya grew and developed in parallel to the Metallurgical Complex.
In 1974 the military government of General Velasco Alvarado expropriated the Metallurgical Complex along with other assets of the Cerro de Pasco Corporation and assigned them to a new state owned enterprise called Centromin Peru. This state owned entity was responsible for the administration of the Metallurgical Complex until it was transferred to the private sector in 1997. After a public auction in which the first bidder (Industrias Penoles of Mexico) withdrew its offer, Doe Run Peru negotiated the terms of the acquisition and acquired the Metallurgical Complex from Centromin Peru in October 1997 (responsibility for environmental matters).
The prior owners of the Metallurgical Complex, including the Peruvian State between 1974 and 1997, followed insufficient environmental policies, resulting in the accumulation of severe environmental liabilities in detriment of the people of La Oroya. As part of the agreements entered into in 1997, the Peruvian State recognized its responsibility to clean and remediate the soils of La Oroya and address all legacy contamination issues, the result of the previous 75 years of unchecked pollution, as well as during the period of the PAMA as extended.
In addition, the Peruvian State retained responsibility for all health issues of third parties including but not limited to the residents of La Oroya, relating to the operation of the Metallurgical Complex through the PAMA as extended in consideration for Doe Run Peru completing the PAMA projects, which efforts by Doe Run Peru, has always had and continue to have full support of its ownership, enhanced by the written commitment of ownership not to take any dividends or like payments to the shareholders until after the PAMA as extended is completed.
Upon the completion of the acquisition, Doe Run Peru adopted additional goals to modernize the Metallurgical Complex and optimize its environmental performance. As part of a process of continues improvement, since 1997 overall dust and metal emissions have dropped 60%. In addition, any measurable polluting impact of metals to the Mantaro and Yauli rivers has virtually been eliminated. Finally, the level of lead, arsenic and cadmium in the air of La Oroya has dropped 61.7%, 72% and 81% respectively. The completion of lead and copper circuit acid plants, remaining PAMA projects, is expected to increase these percentages significantly. The commissioning and entry into operation of the Lead Circuit sulfuric acid plant was on September 2008 and the Copper Circuit sulfuric acid plant and technology change are progressing according to a new plan.
Also, pending on the part of the Peruvian State is the remediation of pollution affecting the soils of the city of La Oroya through November 2009. As per the information made public by Activos Mineros - a state agency and purported successor of Centromin Peru - the baseline studies required for this effort are currently in execution. To access information about the status of these efforts visit www.activosmineros.com.pe.
Finally, starting in 2003, the Ministry of Health of Peru has led a public-private partnership to help reduce blood lead levels in small children and population at risk. The program - with financial and logistical support from Doe Run Peru and the Regional Government of Junín - is showing encouraging results. The latest tests conducted by the Ministry of Health points towards to encouraging improvements in the average blood lead levels of children under six at La Oroya. To review data released by the Ministry of Health, please click here.
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