Anglo American comments on Los Bronces project permitting
Published by Will Owen,
Global Mining Review,
Anglo American plc is currently engaged in an environmental assessment process for its Los Bronces Integrated Project (LBIP) in Chile, a process which began in 2019.
LBIP is a mine life extension project which expands the current open pit within Los Bronces’ operating site and replaces future lower grade ore by accessing higher grade ore from a new underground section of the mine. The project uses the mine’s existing processing facilities, optimises water efficiency, and requires no additional water or tailings storage facilities. LBIP represents a significant investment in the future of one of Chile’s largest copper mines and is an example of modern mining where the full range of sustainability considerations have been consulted on and designed in from the outset.
Anglo American has noted the recommendation published by the Environmental Assessment Service of Chile (SEA) to reject the permitting application for the Los Bronces Integrated Project. The SEA has confirmed that LBIP satisfies all relevant environmental regulation but bases its adverse recommendation on an alleged lack of information during the evaluation process to fully remove any doubts about a potential risk to public health. The SEA’s recommendation is despite the strong support for the project offered to date by 23 of the 25 technical services bodies and government ministries that form part of the assessment process. A decision on the LBIP permit application by the SEA is expected within the next week.
Anglo American has welcomed the SEA’s confirmation that LBIP meets all the required environmental regulatory criteria. The company also firmly believes that all appropriate information has been provided throughout the evaluation process, and that this information has been appropriately socialised at every available opportunity within the regulated permitting process, including through formal meetings and via written submissions.
LBIP has been designed with the benefit of 10 years of scientific studies and a thorough and transparent consultation process with local communities and the relevant authorities. Mitigation measures will compensate for 120% of the emissions created by the project and Los Bronces’ current operations, both during construction and in operation, thereby improving local air quality. The result is a project that has been configured specifically to protect the local environment, without any impact on biodiversity or on the nearby protected areas or glaciers.
In the event of a negative decision from the SEA, the permitting process allows for further review to evaluate the full range of merits of the project alongside the technical permitting considerations. Anglo American is committed to following the established process and is working with the Chilean authorities to demonstrate that all potential impacts have been fully mitigated and to secure approval for the project.
Current copper production guidance in respect of 2022 and 2023 is unchanged. Production guidance remains subject to water availability and the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/mining/25042022/anglo-american-comments-on-los-bronces-project-permitting/
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