The party opposing the construction of controversial port mining project Dominga made its final statements on Thursday, before the Environmental Court of Antofagasta. For three days, seven lawyers representing residents and organizations of La Higuera that oppose the area’s industrialization presented their statements.
Oceana Chile’s attorney, Ezio Costa, deemed that the ministers of the Court were able to learn about the controversy. “The parties that presented statements against the project demonstrated that the Ministerial Committee’s rejection was justified and in compliance with regulations”, said Costa, adding that “the information provided by Andes Iron was not enough, the base line they presented was poor, as were the measures suggested by the titleholder”.
A number of technical failures were presented during the statements, including the lack of a base line for marine species, no modeling was undertaken of impacts produced by the desalination plant in the bay and damage on land was not suitably considered. On the other hand, special emphasis was placed on Andes Iron’s lack of a reply to requests and recommendations made by different technical organizations during the environmental assessment process.
Attorney Javiera Calisto, who was also part of the statements, said that the titleholder produced a base line for the navigation routes through a campaign that lasted only two days, as established by the Ministerial Committee. “A two day campaign does not allow for compliance with regulations that determine the minimum contents that should be detailed in a base line”, said Calisto.
Attorney Juan Pablo Sanguinetti said the statements showed the project’s technical and legal deficiencies. “We expect the Court to examine all the background information provided and then rule in accordance to it, rejecting the appeal presented by Andes Iron”, he said.
Other participants during the three day statements include NGO FIMA litigation coordinator Diego Lillo, representing the Fishermen and Shellfish Collectors Trade Association of Los Choros, José Aliro Zarricueta and Ernesto Fredes; attorney Alejandra Donoso, representing the Movement for the Defense of the Environment of La Higuera, the Los Choros Rural Potable Water Committee, the Association of Small Farmland Owners of Los Choros, and Andrés Álvarez; and attorney Juan Pablo Escudero, representing Marcela Rey and Andrew Fry.