Chilean court keeps Alcaparrosa mine closed

A Chilean environmental court has issued a temporary work stoppage order that will prevent 

Canadian miner Lundin from reopening its Alcaparrosa copper mine, reported Reuters. The mine closed in July 2022 after a gaping sinkhole opened in nearby Tierra Amarilla village.

The order was requested by government agency CDE, which has filed a lawsuit accusing the miner and its subsidiary of environmental damage in connection with the 118-foot-wide sinkhole. The stoppage, Reuters noted, could last until that trial is complete.

Lundin said that the environmental court’s reasoning was “incomplete” and argued that the lawsuit could hurt its business while it considers an appeal. “The scenario proposed by the CDE puts in grave risk the continuity of the Alcaparrosa mine.”

The environmental court said its decision reflected the “eventual impact” on the Copiapo River aquifer, Lundin’s noncompliance with environmental permits and imminent risks faced by workers.

Environmental regulator SMA charged the miner in October with overexploitation of mineral resources as well as unauthorized construction. The charges could lead to a $13 million fine, plus the withdrawal of the mine’s environmental permit.

Lundin holds an 80% stake in Alcaparrosa, with the remainder held by Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corp. Alcaparrosa is part of the Ojos del Salado operation in northern Chile.

Source: Reuters

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