Public statement about Los Bronces, 24 January 2022

Through an open letter to the director of the Environmental Assessment Service (SEA), Hernán Brücher, the association of officials of that division expressed its “concern” about the opening of a Citizen Participation Process (PAC) in the process of evaluation of the Project The Integrated Bronzes, from Anglo American. The letter details that “the technical and legal teams of the SEA” were working on a document to determine the rejection of the project, through a Consolidated Evaluation Report (ICE). Last Tuesday, January 4, 2022, that ICE should be signed and published, the letter states. However, the SEA authorities decided not to sign or publish the document and announced the new citizen participation process when there were only 10 days left to meet the evaluation deadline, the letter explains. The letter from the association compares what happened with the processing of the Dominga Project.

“Untimely and questionable.” (1) This is how the National Association of Officials of the Environmental Assessment Service (ANFUSEA) catalogs the decision adopted by that public division -headed by Hernán Brücher-, to open a new process of citizen participation in the processing of the Integrated Los Bronces Project, which seeks to expand the mine operations of Anglo American Sur SA located in the Metropolitan Region. According to the letter, the determination was made when there were only ten days left for the evaluation process to expire and in circumstances in which officials from the Environmental Evaluation Service (SEA) were finalizing the records to reject the project. The determination, affirms the letter, would generate an undue extension of the process that could transfer to the new government the responsibility of the definitive pronouncement.

The Los Bronces Integrated Project is one of the most ambitious recent bets of Anglo American Sur S.A. It contemplates an investment of around US$3,200 million, consisting of the expansion of the Los Bronces mine pit —located 65 kilometers from Santiago—, the installation of an underground mine under the limit of the Yerba Loca Natural Sanctuary and the repowering of the recirculated water. On its website (2), the company emphasizes that this project is sustainable and “prioritizes socio-environmental criteria over technical-economic ones.”

No+Anglo Movement, made up of the communities of Lampa, Til Til, Lo Barnechea, Colina, El Melón, Los Andes, Putaendo and Catemu. Communities affected by Anglo American’s operations in Chile coordinated a public statement about this situation. This declaration has been supported by citizen movements, social organizations, environmentalists and leaders of the Constitutional Convention that is drafting the new Constitution.

The National Association of Environmental Evaluation Service Officials (ANFUSEA) shared a brave open letter condemning the head of the service’s unilateral decision to open proceedings for the approval of Anglo American’s “Los Bronces Integrado Project”, in the final qualification stage of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The project should have been rejected in accordance with corresponding regulations. In response we strongly declare:

1. – Establishing a new citizen participation process less than 10 days before the legal deadline for project evaluation elapses is highly irregular and violates the rule of law. The authority is using a loophole to avoid rejecting the project and intends to approve it before the change in government. In addition, calling for said participation in the middle of a worsening pandemic represents a serious manipulation of this process and is rightly causing citizen outcry. This decision contradicts the director of the SEA Hernán Brücher’s own response to organisations from the Lo Barnechea commune, including its municipality, whose request in 2020 for an extension to the deadline for citizen participation was denied.

2. – We thank the SEA workers for their bravery in condemning the disruption of the evaluation process by the head of the service, and his abuse of his authority. The public sector workers, whose actions have put them at risk of exposure, are standing up for the rule of law and are a source of pride for the new Chile we hope will blossom in harmony with nature.

3.- Hernán Brücher Valenzuela, executive director of the Environmental Assessment Service, must urgently and clearly respond to the questions his service’s Workers Association has asked. He must also come clean with the public about what government authority gave him the instruction to begin this irregular citizen participation process.

4.- Rejecting plans to expand Los Bronces Integrados is absolutely vital, to avoid jeopardising public safety and putting the population at risk from the levels of particulate matter it would emit, as indicated by the categorical statement by the Public Health Deputy Secretary, as well as the irreparable damage it would do to glaciers, water sources and the fragile mountain ecosystems which the city of Santiago depends on.

5.- As citizen public interest organisations we contest Hernán Brücher’s act of adminstrative irregularity, committed in his position of superior authority at the Environmental Impact Service. We will use all legal avenues to prevent this illegality from succeeding, along with the projects that threaten the common good and the environment.

6.- We call on citizens to get informed and reject Anglo American’s Los Bronces Integrado project, which seriously endangers the water security of Santiago, where 40% of Chile’s population lives. We cannot accept mining developments in the headwaters of the basins that life, people and cities depend on. People and ecosystems must be the priority. The current water crisis and the effects of climate change are intensifying, with projects like Los Bronces Integrados putting water, glaciers and the life of our and future generations at risk.

Movimiento No + Anglo (Lo Barnechea – Lampa – Colina -Til Til – El Melón – Los Andes – Putaendo -Catemu)
Corporación Defensa de la Cuenca del Mapocho
Centro Ecológico Churque
Gran Barnechea
Salvemos el Agua Lo Barnechea
Centro para el Desarrollo del Patrimonio y la Cultura, Pueblo de Barnechea
Corporación Camino a Farellones
Asociación Escuela de Montaña Camino a Farellones
Junta de vecinos Las Varas, Lo Barnechea
Junta de vecinos Las 4 esquinas, Lo Barnechea
Junta de vecinos Garrido, Lo Barnechea
Agrupación Ambiental Social y Cultural Putaendo Resiste
Guardianxs de Akunkawa
Grupo Ambientalista El Melón
Trawun Barnechea
Territorios Democráticos de Lo Barnechea
Vecinos en Movimiento por el Valle de Putaendo
Wanaku Akunkawa, Valle Acongua
ACDA de la Cuenca de Aconcagua
Catemu en movimiento
Agrupación Cultural Putaendo Histórico
Mesa Social de Calera
Baile Chino Aconcagua Salmón, San Felipe
Lawentuchefe Relonche Aconcagua
Medicina de la Tierra
Agrupación Cultural Ambiental Comparsa Cordillera (Los Andes)
Agrupación Ambiental Aconcagua
Guzmania, Naturaleza, Arte y Educación Putaendo
Asamblea Territorial de Santa María
Mujeres y ríos libres de Quillota.
Fundación Huellas Sustentables de Lo Barnechea
Pueblos Ancestrales del Valle de Michimalongo, Valle Akonkawa
Herencia Medicina, Los Andes
Centro de Rescate de Fauna Andina CEREFAN
Corporación La Voz de Lo Barnechea
Comité de Vivienda Las Varas, Lo Barnechea
Colectivo Artístico Muros Flotantes de San Felipe
Aclowncagua, Putaendo, Valle del Aconcagua
Ukamau El Melón- Nogales
Fundación Poyewn
Sindicato de profesores de Til Til
Red Permacultores de Aconcagua
Naturalis, Conservación y educacion ambiental. La Calera

Supported by:
Coordinadora de Territorios por la Defensa de los Glaciares
MAT Movimiento por el agua y los territorios
Fundación Chile Sustentable
Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales OLCA
London Mining Network
Fundación Glaciares Chilenos
Fundación Relaves
Fundación Etica en los Bosques
Fundación Origen
Corporación Ciudad Viva
Red Ecológica de Chile
Fundación La Casa Común
Comunidad Mapuche Wenewen Mapun, Lof Choroico, La Unión
Consejo Mapuche comuna La Unión, Región Los Rios
ONG Ecosistemas
Trace of Nitrate
Colectivo La Banca
Fundación ECOSUR
Fundación Pensamiento Verde
Fundación Newenko
Fundación Plantae
Fundación Terram
Defensa Ambiental Región de Coquimbo
Observatorio Ciudadano
Resistencia Socioambiental de Quilicura
Alerta Isla Riesco
Ciudadanos y Clima, Tierra del Fuego
CODEFF Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Flora y Fauna
Fundación Lenga
Corporación El Canelo de Nos
Coordinadora Ciudadana No Alto Maipo
Agrupación Ecológica CHADENATUR
Defendamos La Ciudad
Ecoigualdad, Programa de Medio Ambiente del Instituto Igualdad
Andrei Tchernitchin, Médico Universidad de Chile
Francisco Ferrando, Glaciólogo Universidad de Chile
Constanza Schonhaut, constituyente distrito 11
Constanza San Juan, constituyente distrito 4
Manuela Royo, constituyente distrito 23
Carolina Vilches, constituyente distrito 6
Alondra Carrillo, constituyente distrito 12
Loreto Vallejos, constituyente distrito 15
Bárbara Sepúlveda, constituyente distrito 9
Yarela Gómez, constituyente distrito 27
Aurora Delgado, constituyente distrito 24
Jennifer Mella, constituyente distrito 11
M.Trinidad Castillo, constituyente distrito 5
Elsa Labraña, constituyente distinto 17
Adriana Cancino, constituyente distrito 16
Rossana Vidal, constituyente distrito 20
Francisca Arauna, constituyente distrito 18
Damaris Abarca, constituyente distrito 15
Giovana Grandon, constituyente distrito 12
Francisco Madrid, concejal por Lo Barnechea
Sofía Valenzuela, CORE Región Metropolitana
Tomás Hirsch, diputado de Acción Humanista
Marcelo Diaz, diputado de UNIR
Carmen Hertz, diputada Partido Comunista
Patricio Rosas, diputado de UNIR
Alejandra Sepúlveda, diputada FRVS
Marcela Sandoval, diputada Revolución Democrática
Marisela Santibáñez, diputada Partido Comunista
Esteban Velásquez, diputado FRVS
Claudia Mix, diputada Comunes
Ruben Moraga, diputado Partido Comunista
Gonzalo Winter, diputado Convergencia Social
Camila Rojas, diputada Comunes
Borris Barrera, diputado Partido Comunista

#Noalaexpansiondelosbronces #Nomasanglo
#Massaludmenosanglo #Glaciareslibresyprotegidos #Chilepaisglaciar

Translated from the original Spanish by Holly Jones