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Swedish Boliden innocent in Chile toxic waste dump case — court

Since starting production in the 1920s, the Swedish company has mined ore in almost 30 mines located in the so-called Boliden area. (Image: Tomas Westermark | Boliden)

Swedish mining company Boliden (STO: BOL) won’t have to pay over $12 million (100 million Swedish crowns) in compensation for health problems allegedly caused by toxic waste it dumped in northern Chile, a court ruled Thursday.

The lawsuit filed in 2013 by around 800 residents of the city of Arica, in northern Chile, alleged Boliden exported 20,000 tonnes of mining waste in the mid-1980s, despite knowing it was highly toxic and could not be handled safely at the site.

The fact those charges have been dismissed confirms what we did followed existing rules and regulations, Boliden spokesman Klas Nilsson told Sveriges radio Ekot.

Since lawsuit was filed, the company has said it regretted what happened in Arica, but claimed the responsibility lied with Chilean authorities who allowed houses to be built near the dump site in the 1990s.

The company has also blamed Chilean firm Promel, which was supposed to reprocess the waste exported by the Swedish firm, but never really did so.

Boliden is base metals miner with operations and smelters in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Ireland.