Our Insights

Supporting the economic transition in Challhuahuacho, Peru

At an elevation of more than 12,130 feet (about 3,700 meters) in the Peruvian mountains, the rural community of Challhuahuacho continues a traditional way of life, which includes farming—growing maize and potatoes—and raising sheep and cattle. The introduction of the Las Bambas copper project brought about noticeable changes, including a growing population; more local businesses; and new houses, streets, and bridges. It also precipitated a gradual transition to a more formalized economy as local entrepreneurs took advantage of the burgeoning transportation, catering, hospitality, and equipment-rental sectors.

Since the project started, Bechtel and its partners have spent an average of $2 million per month, for a total of more than $78 million, on local goods and services in 16 remote Peruvian towns. In addition, indirect employment from these new ventures alone is around 1,500 jobs and growing. It was important for Bechtel, our customer, and our partners to help local communities succeed in the changing economy.

Bechtel and our partners conducted tax management training for more than 300 entrepreneurs to help them understand the potential implications on their businesses. We provided training on how to prepare business plans, register their operations, and develop internal employment procedures.

We also guided local businesses to join forces through business-to-business cooperation to capitalize on economic opportunities. For example, laundry and hotel owners formed associations to negotiate higher quality and safety standards with the project. Bechtel was recognized by 10 vendors for helping them meet the requirements of food hygiene, water and sanitation, .ire prevention, and evacuation needed for project work. Many of these standards were developed and delivered through training, site inspections, and improvement plans. The association committed to continue improving these practices after Bechtel leaves the project.