Chile imposes 2nd highest fine in history to Pan Pacific Caserones mine

Chile imposes 2nd highest fine in history to Pan Pacific Caserones mine

Caserones mine began commercial operations last year.

Caserones, a copper mine in northern Chile majority owned by Japan's top smelter, Pan Pacific Copper, will have to pay $11.9 million for breaching environmental rules, Chile's environmental authority, SMA, has ruled.

The fine was imposed after the regulator found a number of infractions, including failure to implement mitigation measures to prevent the contamination of underground water supplies and the construction of unauthorized transmission lines.

This is the second-highest fine the SMA has imposed since it created in 2012. The largest penalty so far — $16 million — was imposed in 2013 to Barrick Gold’s (TSX, NYSE:ABX) now shelved Pascua Lama gold and silver mine.

Caserones mine, which began commercial operations last year, violated rules in 17 items, eight of which were serious, the SMA determined according to local paper La Nación (in Spanish).

The operation, located 62km south-east of Copiapo in the Atacama desert region, is 77% -owned by Pan Pacific Copper, a firm controlled by JX Nippon Mining & Metals under JX Holdings Inc. Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd holds the remainder.