Anglo American’s false solutions in Chile

Original article OLCA 

Edited and translated by Catriona Rainsford

It’s impossible to believe them when they continue to destroy life. Just weeks from its shareholders’ meeting in London and the resolution of the Committee of Ministers in Chile to decide on the Los Bronces Integrated Expansion project, which has already been rejected by Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service, Anglo American shows its siren song to the United Nations.

The mining company has pledged to stop using fresh water at its Los Bronces operation by 2030. But it does not explain that it currently uses at least 1,380 liters per second there. Nor does it mention that it systematically destroys glacial areas that are the main water source in the Chilean Metropolitan Region, still less does it talk about its tailings dams that contaminate the groundwater or the industrial water it uses to spray roads. But Anglo American’s greenwashing fails to hide the fact that the water shortage we are facing has been caused by the overexploitation of water sources, and mega-mining is one of the key players.

The mining company is right to review and seek solutions to the irreparable damage it causes, but these must be real. Desalination is not a panacea. The first thing to note is that new negative impacts will be generated on the marine coastal ecosystems and on the entire pipeline route that will be required to transfer the water from the sea to Colina. There is also the underlying issue: we continue to extract water from anywhere and at any cost in order to secure a mining business over life. It makes no sense to make a mega-investment that will result in more pollution to keep intact the demand for a model that devastates nature.

The communities do not believe Anglo American. The company has not kept its promises, preferring to pay fines, use legal loopholes to advance with its exploitation and look for intermediaries such as London Mining Network to try to talk with the communities. But in this way they only continue to destroy trust. To give an example: since 2015, Anglo American has not fulfilled its promise to remove the tailings from the Pérez Caldera waters. They remain there despite a judicial agreement that was made before the communities, and the imminent danger.

Anglo American’s siren songs are useless. The Los Bronces integrated project not only represents a risk to the health of the population, but also has deficiencies in other fundamental aspects that were not duly considered by the SEA. As the Undersecretary of the Environment pointed out at the beginning of March, the project did not include innumerable glaciers that make up the Andean mountain range and that would be exposed to the construction and operations of the mining site, nor was the climate change factor considered in the evaluation of the potential impacts on them. In addition, the file did not provide sufficient information to rule out damage from the deposit of sedimentable particulate material and black carbon on the glaciers.

Do you care about the water? Then stop destroying glaciers, accelerating their melting and affecting the flows that directly impact the habitats of the Yerba Loca Nature Sanctuary, the Mapocho River and the Valparaíso and Metropolitan regions.

Movimiento No+Anglo Chile