Chile’s court decision on whether force Antofagasta knock down Los Pelambres mine dam imminent

Chile’s court decision on whether force Antofagasta knock down Los Pelambres mine dam imminent

Los Pelambres remains Antofagasta’s flagship mine, producing over 55% of the total group output.
(Image courtesy of Antofagasta PLC)

A Chilean court evaluating an appeal from London-listed Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) to a March decision that forces the company to demolish the dam wall for Los Pelambres copper mine, could soon make a final decision, local paper Diario Financiero reports (in Spanish).

The case centres on farmers claims that Antofagasta’s tailings dam, used to create a reservoir for mine waste, is responsible for a water shortage in the already dry area. The miner, in turn, says a raging seven-year drought affecting the entire country is to blame.

In April, La Serena appeals court sided with Antofagasta and unanimously rejected the lawsuit presented by residents of the local Caimanes community in central Chile, which also blamed the miner’s flagship Los Pelambres copper mine dam of drying up a local stream and contaminating underground water.

The court, however, did not decide on Antofagasta’s appeal to the ruling that ordered it to knock down part, or all, of the tailings dam wall. Such verdict, reports El Diario, should come soon, as a judge summoned the parties Thursday to a hearing where an expert will report on the adequacy of the natural drainage plan originally proposed by Antofagasta.

Los Pelambres copper mine, located 200km north of capital Santiago, is Antofagasta’s flagship asset, producing 2% of the world’s copper. The mine is still operating as the company waits for a final decision to its appeal.