On 15th January, Chile government officials left for the mining district Cerro Colorado to take another round on environment investigation. On 13th January, Chile Supreme Court gave a verdict on an accuse upheld by local agricultural association San Isidro de Quipisca. The accuse was against the environmental administrative permit for the Cerro Colorado copper mine, which was issued on November 12, 2016. The court claimed that the project review failed to consider the excessive use of water for mine operations and factors affecting local wetlands.

BHP Cooper Mining in Cerro Colorado

The lawyer Lorenzo Soto, who is entrusted by local people, said that the cooper mine would be shut down until next round of review was completed. And he also said that the wetland in high altitude in Tarapaca was almost dried up due to the water overuse for cooper mining operation. Local people has been accusing of mining operation for several years, smoke and noisy are surrounded in this area, and water for domestic use is contaminated. Soto said, the environmental administrative permit of Cerro Colorado copper mine had been revoked and its mining operations shall be stopped. He hoped that BHP would comply with the verdict and stop the operation in this copper mine.

While BHP Billiton Ltd (Broken Hill Proprietary Billiton Ltd) claimed that Cerro Colorado copper mine will continue to be run, and the court does not give an order to shut down this copper mine.

In the third quarter of 2020, Cerro Colorado reduced production according to its plans to reduce the costs. And its copper production reduced by 7% on quarter-on-quarter level, reaching 16,000 tons. In 2019, 71,700 tons copper were produced from this mine, which is 1.2% of Chile’s total copper production.

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