Santiago — By presenting an appeal, marine conservation organization Oceana requested the Ministerial Committee to take into account information that was not included in the Environmental Qualification Resolution (RCA in Spanish) that rejected port mining project Dominga.
“Though the reasons provided by the Seremis (regional ministerial secretariats) and the Intendant in order to reject Dominga rendered an account of serious technical and environmental deficiencies that were unmet by the company, many other reasons were left out of the Environmental Qualification Resolution,” stated Executive Director of Oceana Chile, Liesbeth van der Meer. “The appeal that was submitted requests that these arguments be included in the Resolution because they contribute scientific information that further demonstrates the project’s weaknesses,” added van der Meer.
The document presented by Oceana requests confirmation of the project’s dismissal and that the observations presented by the environmental organization be given due consideration, including them within the arguments that support the rejection. One of the significant issues presented in the appeal addresses the inclusion of sea transport too late in the process, resulting in the extension of the area of influence and further impacts on flora and fauna present in the marine reservations.
Last March, the Environmental Assessment Commission of Coquimbo Region rejected the Andes Iron project because it endangered the area’s marine reservations, it did not deliver certainty as to whether the project would significantly impact the environment and it provided unsatisfactory mitigation measures, among other reasons. After the rejection, the mining company presented an appeal a few weeks ago to revert this resolution, which will be decided by the Ministerial Committee.
“The Ministerial Committee should take into consideration, as did the Environmental Assessment Commission, that this is a unique habitat,” stated van der Meer. “About 80% of the global population of Humboldt penguins live here, the oldest marine reservations of Chile are located here, as well as an ecosystem that cannot be found anywhere else, which is why we have to protect it,” she added.
The Ministerial Committee, which is comprised of the ministries of Environment, Economy, Mining, Agriculture, Energy and Health, will have to confirm or reverse the decision to reject the port mining project. This is expected to take place during the second half of 2017.