SANTIAGO, Apr 21 (Reuters) – A Chilean environmental court said on Wednesday it had ordered a new evaluation of works at the Norte Abierto gold-copper project in the north of the country, due to its eventual impact on a nearby indigenous community.
The initiative located in the northern region of Atacama was consolidated in 2017 with the merger of Cerro Casale from Barrick and Caspiche from the current Newmont Goldcorp. It is a partnership in equal parts.
The measure was taken “due to the significant alteration that the project ‘Prospección Minera Norte Abierto sector Caspiche’ could cause in the way of life and customs of the members of the indigenous community Colla Río Jorquera and its Tributaries,” the court said in a statement. .
“The mere fact of a susceptibility of affectation makes the indigenous consultation proceed in an environmental evaluation process because there is an evident interaction between the project and the lands and activities of the Colla community,” said Judge Mauricio Oviedo, who wrote the opinion.
The project had previously been entered as an Environmental Impact Statement, which involves minor modifications, and had received the go-ahead in 2019.
But the works, which include the drilling of 334 boreholes, routes and roads in the territory ancestrally inhabited by the community, required a broader study, according to the court.
The Norte Abierto project has proven and probable reserves of 23.2 million ounces of gold and 5.8 billion pounds of copper, according to company data.
The company had previously said it would consolidate the projects into a new Environmental Impact Study after updating the geological model.
(Report by Fabián Andrés Cambero)