Because of its scale and prominence, Yanacocha may hold the key to mining’s future in Peru. “If Yanacocha does things better, it will open the door to all mining projects in the north of Peru. If it doesn’t, it will close the door to these projects,” says Marco Arana, a Catholic priest who led the protests over Cerro Quilish. The mine’s critics focus on two things: its environmental impact, and its alleged lack of benefits for local people, many of whom are poor farmers.