The Antamina Mine is located in the mountainous region of the Ancash Department of Peru at an elevation of approximately 4200m. The 120 km main access road crosses the headwaters of numerous high-value trout streams and is adjacent to pristine lakes, some of very high ecological and scenic value. In addition, the mine discharges mine water and tailings supernatant to the Antamina and Ayash watersheds. These streams provide the primary water supply for irrigation by local residents and provide excellent fishery habitat.
The rock walls and earthen diversions constructed by historic and current indigenous residents of Peru are world -renowned and local residents continue this tradition, passed down from the Inca Civilization, for both agricultural purposes and water distribution. The key elements of sustainable development – economic, environmental and social development have been incorporated into Antamina’s sustainable development program through integration of indigenous knowledge and capabilities into enhanced storm water, erosion reduction and sediment control systems.
Examples of incorporating indigenous technologies and knowledge into cost-effective and environmentally sound environmental controls are: (1) placement of rock walls on steep terrain to reduce slope length and erosion, (2) installation of rock walls (porous rock check dams) within elongated sediment ponds to increase detention time, (3) construction of rock-lined ditches to convey clean water (4) use of rock walls, with or without geotextile, to function as a seep berm, and (5) appropriate selection and usage of native Andean species for protection of canals and sediment ponds, and steep slopes.