Pinochet’s son mining permit application causes controversy in Chile

Earlier this week the Chilean press learned about an application for a mining concession presented before Quilpué’s First Municipal Court by Augusto Pinochet Hiriart, the son of former dictator Augusto Pinochet.

According to local media, back in February, Pinochet requested a “license to exploit a copper, gold, silver and other minerals” in an area near the city of Quilpué, which is located in the Marga-Marga province of the in the central region of Valparaíso.

The filing introduced before the court describes a 65-hectare property divided into 13 different segments which would be named Augusto 1 to the 13. If Pinochet’s request is approved, La Tercera newspaper states that he would require an initial investment of $100 million.

The focus of the operation, however, would not be the precious metals but “an element that is extracted from sand to manufacture refractory materials used by the mining industry,” the daily says.

Quilpué’s Mayor Mauricio Viñambres rejected the proposal and said that he will oppose all attempts to extract mineral resources in the areas that surround his city.

“We are going to oppose mining operations here no matter who they belong to because they are not within the parameters of our development plans or our municipal policies,” he told Bío Bío radio network.

Interviewed by the same media outlet, MP Diego Ibañez said that courts should observe some ethical considerations before granting mining permits. In this specific case, he added, the municipal tribunal should weigh in the fact that Quilpué is facing drought conditions and high pollution levels. In his view, these situations would only worsen if mineral extraction activities are allowed in the region.