LatinNews Daily - 18 April 2023

In brief: Chile’s gov’t approves controversial mining project

* A ministerial committee in Chile has approved the environmental permit application for a major mining project, despite warnings from environmental groups. The Los Bronces Integrado project, owned by the UK-headquartered mining company Anglo American, represents an investment of some US$3bn to expand the existing Los Bronces mine located on the border of Chile’s Valparaíso and Metropolitan regions, and will remain operational until 2036. In a statement, Anglo American welcomed the ministers’ decision, stating it paved the way for “the next phase of development for one of the world’s largest copper mines”. Cristián Argandoña, president of mining lobby Sociedad Nacional de Minería (Sonami), stated the project would produce 150,000 tonnes of copper and would employ 2,850 workers during the construction stage as well as 2,000 workers during operations. However, environmental groups are opposed to the project. Matías Asun, national director for international NGO Greenpeace in Chile, stated that the approval was “bad and worrying news”, given the location of the project in an area “of fundamental importance” at the source of the Mapocho river. Asun said the project would affect the water sources and reserves for the eastern part of Chile’s capital Santiago and the Mapocho river basin, as well as having a “potentially significant impact on biodiversity”, adding that it represented a “direct contradiction” to the environmental commitments made by the government of President Gabriel Boric.

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