MAC: Mines and Communities

Chile: Pipeline rupture and concentrate spill at Anglo American mine

Published by MAC on 2016-02-20
Source: El Mostrador, La Nacion

Previous article on MAC: Anglo American: death and diversions at the company AGM

(Translations by Luis Claps)

Breakage of mining pipeline causes preventive evacuation in Colina community

Water turbidity prompted the measure. Several organizations are working to control the emergency in the Quilapilun sector, north of Santiago Metropolitan Region

7 February, 2016

The municipality of Colina ordered the precautionary evacuation of some 300 people who were near the river of the same name, due to a broken pipeline near the tailings dam of Anglo American Los Bronces mine.

Neighbors were allowed to return to their home shortly after, but also told to stay away from the river.

"Technical personnel of the mining company Anglo American, together with the Provincial Emergency Manager, municipal staff and the Regional Directorate of Metropolitan ONEMI, are working the area" said the Emergency Notification System (Onemi) in a statement.

Court declares admissible lawsuit brought against Anglo American

El Mostrador

12 February 2016

A Union presented an injunction before the Santiago Appeals Court, which sought to suspend the activities of Anglo American after the rupture of a pipeline at the Los Bronces mine tailings reservoir.

The workers claim that the pipeline disturb their activities and pollutes the water.

The lawyer representing the union, Nicolas Pavez, said that "they cannot say it's just mud, this is a pipeline of more than 80 kilometers from Los Bronces to Las Tortolas plant".

"The demand has been declared admissible and the miner given five days to explain in detail what has happened", said Pavez.

Meanwhile, residents of the town of Colina filed another lawsuit for mining pollution, which adds to the one being prepared by a group of local farmers to be filed in the coming days.

Leakage at Anglo American’s Los Bronces mine forces firm to halt grinding
Cecilia Jamasmie

8 February 2016
Grinding at Anglo American’s Los Bronces copper mine in Chile has been halted after the firm detected a leak in a pipe carrying ground ore mixed with water on Sunday evening.

According to local newspaper La Tercera (in Spanish), the discharge was noticed on farmland outside the capital Santiago during a routine inspection of the pipe, which connects Anglo’s flagship mine with the Las Tortolas flotation plant.

Anglo American said the pipe does not carry tailings from the mining process and that an investigation was underway. It also noted that water in the nearby river does is not for human consumption.

Anglo American said the pipe does not carry tailings from the mining process, but only ground ore mixed with water.The company, however, will hire an external company to carry out sampling and determine whether any contamination was caused by the leakage.

Last year, Chile's environment regulator hit Anglo American with a $6.2 million fine, ordering the company to shut one of its waste dumps at the Los Bronces mine, as it said irreparable damage had been done to surrounding land.

Production at Los Bronces, perched 3,500 meters high up in the Andes 65km north-east of Santiago, reached 401,700 mt in 2015. The mine’s output represents roughly 7% of the South American nation’s total annual copper production.

Anglo owns 50.1% of the operation. Chilean state miner Codelco and Japanese trading houses Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. also have stakes in the complex.


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