Oro Puno S.A.
The mining organization Oro Puno is located in the Ananea District, which is part of the Puno region of southern Peru. It is within the Central Andes mountain range and near the snow-peaked La Rinconada, at an elevation of about 4,500 meters above sea level and dipping down into temperatures as low as -15 and up to 18 degrees Celsius. Its inhabitants speak mostly Quechua and have a culture deeply rooted in their indigenous heritage.
In this chilly climate Andean camelids such as alpacas and llamas are herded, and some commerce is carried out, but mining is the main economic activity of the region. Mining has attracted a migratory work force from within the same department, forming a heterogeneous community that speaks indigenous languages, such as Quechua and Aymara.
The mining organization operates out of a mining area called San Antonio de Poto. This gold mine has long brought in miners from nearby areas, state companies, and even foreign corporations and banks. In 2010 its legal status was established under the company name Empresa Minera Oro Puno, with the purpose of operating a gold mine within the Ananea Rural Community. At present 24 families make a living directly from this organization’s mining activity, and indirectly it affects at least 200 people.
CHALLENGES AND ACHIEVEMENTS IN BECOMING FAIRMINED CERTIFIED
Fulfilling the requirements of the Fairmined Standard can be quite a challenge for some mining organizations, as they extend beyond the regulations for each country, which are already difficult for many artisanal and small-scale miners to abide by without knowledge of the laws and assistance with the procedures. This was the case of the Oro Puno mining organization, yet the motivation and commitment to responsible mining propelled these miners to achieve the certification.
The Oro Puno certification was possible thanks to the support of two organizations: First, the Better Gold Initiative (BGI), they identified the huge potential of Oro Puno to be certified while conducting a survey of mining organizations throughout Peru. Then, the local partner and executor of the BGI, the ABR Consulting Group, who implemented the improvement plans and provided technical assistance to the mining organization.
A few highlights among the achievements of this organization in obtaining Fairmined Certification are the improvements made to their occupational health and safety system and to their traceability and internal management systems.
AN EXAMPLE OF RESPONSIBLE MINING
Oro Puno is one of the few artisanal and small-scale mining organizations in the world that uses neither mercury nor cyanide in their extraction processes, since their ore lends itself to applying a gravimetric process.
Oro Puno expects to invest the Fairmined Premium in improving the company’s service to its employees, upgrading its facilities, and allocating a portion to support the education of children in their community.
The Oro Puno miners are demonstrating to the community and to the miners of their region that small-scale producers can fulfill large-scale objectives. They have achieved responsible mining, legal compliance with local authorities, and alignment with an international standard.
TYPE OF MINING OPERATION
The Oro Puno mining organization excavates a glacial moraine deposit, which is the material left behind from a thawing, retreating glacier. This unique type of deposit can be found from Apolobamba in Bolivia to Acocala in Peru.
Number of employees: 9 men
Mining operation: Alluvial and glacial moraine
“It is possible to run a responsible small-scale operation, through commitment, wisdom, effort, and dedication. The Fairmined Certification will bring a great benefit to our mining organization and to our community. We call on small-scale miners to follow in the footsteps of organizations that are already certified. Responsible gold is possible!” – Francisco Ccama
“We ask jewelers to trust our organization, which now offers responsible gold production, complies with all the regulatory requirements of Peru, and meets the Fairmined Standard.” – Francisco Ccama