Boric Administration approves ‘Los Bronces’ mining project

The Committee of Ministers gave the green light to the ‘Los Bronces’ project. The plan involves the expansion of a mine in the Metropolitan and Valparaíso regions. Environmental organizations have raised concerns about the project’s potential impacts.

The Committee of Ministers approved the “Los Bronces” mining project on April 17.

The plan is submitted by British mining conglomerate Anglo American. It involves the expansion of the company’s operations in the mountain range that runs through the Metropolitan and Valparaíso regions. More specifically, Anglo American intends to optimize its current mining plan for the Los Bronces mine, through the development of three new mining entrances. By doing so, the company hopes to extend the life of the mine to 2036.

The project has been under environmental assessment since 2019. Environmental organizations have raised numerous concerns about the project, due to its potential effects on air quality, the flora and fauna in the region, and the nearby glaciers that supply the Metropolitan area with water.

About a year ago, the Environmental Evaluation Service recommended rejecting the project. In a statement, the Service wrote that “[a]lthough it is determined that the Project complies with the applicable environmental regulations and requirements for the granting of the applicable permits, the project owner [Anglo American] did not provide sufficient information to rule out the generation of risk to the health of the population.”

Also read: 

Committee of Ministers unanimously rejects Dominga mining project

‘Responsible mining’

However, the Committee of Ministers, a special committee composed of seven government ministers tasked with resolving appeals filed about environmental matters, has now deemed the project sufficiently safe.

Patricio Hidalgo, president of the conglomerate’s Chilean unit, Anglo American Sur, says that the company takes its responsibility for the local environment seriously. “The initiative that received the green light from the authorities was designed under strict sustainability criteria …. With this approval, we take on the responsibility to continue moving towards a new way of mining that adapts to climate change and reduces its environmental footprint.” 

As part of this responsibility, Anglo American will implement a series of commitments to mitigate the emissions of particulate matter from the project. “Among them are the paving of local roads around Los Bronces, the replacement of combustion buses with electric ones, and the installation of two new air quality monitoring stations,” Hidalgo said.

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