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PASCUA LAMA: Charges filed against the controversial project for failing to meet the environmental standards, conditions, and measures.


This is the English translation of an article that originally appeared in Spanish on the Chilean news site, 24 horas.

The Environmental Superintendent of Chile filed charges on Wednesday against Nevada Mining SpA, who is the owner of Pasca Lama project in Chile, because the project fails to meet the conditions, rules and measures established by the Environmental Qualification Resolution delivered in 2006.

In late 2013, Nevada Mining SpA filed a self-report admitting they had breach their obligations. With this, they were looking for the reduction of fine benefit prescribed by Chilean law.

After that, the environmental authorities began an audit process to verify "the accuracy, truthfulness and how the owner had put an end to the self-reported infringement".

The Investigation Division of the Superintendent, in conjunction with other Public Services of Atacama Region- where the project is localized- conducted environmental inspections at Pascua Lama  premises, whose results were reflected in an "Environmental Investigation Report".

This, together with the statements made by Nevada executives, led the Instruction of Penalty Procedures Unit of the SMA to reject the self-report presented by Nevada Mining SpA, based on the grounds that it did not meet the requirements of Article 41 of the Organic Superintendency Law, which requires the provision of accurate, truthful and verifiable facts by the holder.

According to what is stablished by this law, and considering the facts presented at the hearing, the Superintendent proceeded to file the following charges against Nevada Mining Company SpA:

1. Breaching of rules, conditions and measures established in the Resolution N° 024 of February 15, 2006, decreted by the Regional Environmental Commission of Atacama, which authorized the project "Pascua Lama Project Modifications", specifically beacuse of having started mining without finishing the construction of Acid Drainage Management and Treatment System of the sterile tank.

2. Failure to comply with the obligations of the provisional measures ordered by the Superintendent in Exempt Resolution No. 107 of January 31, 2013.

3. Failure to comply with the rules laid down in Articles first, second and fourth Exempt Resolution No. 574 of October 2, 2012, of this Office, which required information to Environmental Qualification Resolution holders, which aims to verify and update the information holded by the Superintendent, to form the National Information System of Environmental Enforcement (SNIFA), the Public Registry of Environmental Qualification Resolution and record the adresses of the subjects under investigation.

4. Failure to follow the rules laid down in Resolution N ° 37 of 15 January 2013, of this Office, which issued and instructed the general rule on environmental inspection agencies and validity of reports. 

5. Failure to comply the Request of Information recorded on the the Environmental Inspection Act dated January 29, 2013, issued by officers of this Office.

Meanwhile, the company issued a statement about the resolution taken by the Superintendency of the Environment:

About the resolution of the Superintendency of the Environment (SMA), Rodrigo Jiménez Castellanos, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Barrick South America, said:

"We have just learned of the issuance of this resolution and, therefore, till we havent reviewed it in detail, we can not comment on its contents.

What I do can say, is that Barrick is committed to meeting our legal, environmental and social obligations, and if at some point we have to improve, we will devote all necessary resources to do so".


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