Chile's Supreme Court Ratifies Closing of the Pascua Lama Mine
The Supreme Court of Chile has approved the closure of Barrick Gold's Chilean subsidiary, Compaa Minera Nevada SpA's $8.5 billion Pascua Lama gold and copper mining project.
The Pascua-Lama project, located in the Andes Mountains on the Chilean-Argentine border, has been on hold since 2013 due to environmental concerns.
The High Court rejected the appeals filed against the September 2020 decision of the First Environmental Court to permanently close the mine.
The company faced 33 allegations regarding flora and fauna, the human environment, water quality, and glaciers.
This latest judgement validates the legitimacy of the mine's final closure sanction and a series of fines imposed on the mining project by the Chilean environmental agency, Superintendence of the Environment (SMA).
The Superintendent of the Environment, Emanuel Ibarra, said:
“The ruling of the Supreme Court, together with supporting our investigation, also ratifies the sentence of the First Environmental Court, which confirmed the definitive closure sanction of the Pascua Lama project issued by this Superintendency, as well as a series of fines that were applied.
“With this sentence, the SMA must, first of all, continue to monitor compliance with the closure sanction, for which there is an informed closure schedule, whose compliance will be monitored in its various stages, understanding that it is an extensive process that even requires a new admission to environmental evaluation and procedures before the Sernageomin.”
Environmental organisations have vehemently opposed the proposal, claiming decreased water availability in the region and the destruction of nearby glaciers.
Source: Mining Technology