Chile’s state-run Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, said in a letter to lawmakers this week that as much as 40% of its copper output is at risk if a bill that limits mine operations near glaciers advances, according to a report in local daily El Mercurio.
The letter, sent by Codelco to the Chilean Senate’s Mining and Energy Committee, notes that three of its major mine operations – Andina, El Teniente and Salvador – would be impacted by the “absolute prohibitions” currently under consideration in the bill.
“The new protections proposed in the project would overlap with current and future activities in Andina, El Teniente and Salvador,” Codelco executives warned in the letter to lawmakers, according to the El Mercurio report.
The three mines together constitute nearly 40% of the sprawling miner´s production, government statistics show.
The Senate is considering the glacier protection bill as it begins to review a royalty bill aimed at sharply increasing taxes imposed on the country´s copper miners, a one-two punch that industry executives have warned could doom many of Chile´s massive mines.
Proponents of the bill say Chile´s glaciers, already under threat by climate change, need immediate protection from industrial operations.
The glacier bill was first introduced in early 2018 and is slated for further committee review and procedural votes in coming weeks.
(By Dave Sherwood; Editing by Nick Zieminski)