MAC: Mines and Communities

Chile orders closure of Maricunga water pumping wells

Published by MAC on 2016-03-23
Source: Miningweekly.com, The Canadian Press (2016-03-22)

Loss of about 70 hectares of Valle Ancho wetlands confirmed

The Superintendency of the Environment (SMA) ordered the permanent closure of the Maricunga gold mine's water extraction facilities, located 160 kilometers northeast of Copiapo, after confirming that its operations left the nearby wetlands dried.

The environmental authority notified the sanction against Kinross' local unit after confirming the disappearance of about 70 hectares of the Valle Ancho wetland, near the Nevado Tres Cruces Park, in the Atacama Region.

The Maricunga mine is operating normally for now, but has relied solely on water from the alleged damaged wells to feed its operations.

Chile environmental authority to sue Kinross over Maricunga water pumping wells

Henry Lazenby

http://www.miningweekly.com/article/chile-environmental-authority-to-sue-kinross-to-close-maricunga-water-pumping-wells-2016-03-22

22 March 2016

TORONTO – The Chilean environmental regulatory authority Superintendence of the Environment (SMA) has taken a resolution to start a legal process to force Canadian miner Kinross Gold’s subsidiary Compañía Minera Maricunga (CMM) to close the Maricunga mine's water pumping wells located in the Pantanillo area of Region III.

TSX- and NYSE-listed Kinross said on Monday that the Maricunga mine continued to operate normally for now, but relied solely on water from Pantanillo wells to support its operations.

“CMM disagrees with the allegations on which the resolution is based, and intends to defend itself vigorously. As noted by the SMA in issuing the resolution, procedurally the closure order of the pumping wells must still be presented to and upheld by the Environmental Tribunal, in Santiago,” Kinross stated.

It added that the SMA had publicly stated its intention to seek an unprecedented expedited injunction, which CMM similarly planned to oppose.

Kinross noted that CMM had taken many measures and performed several studies over the years to understand the causes of the current situation and mitigate, as appropriate and permitted, any impacts of its water use.

“Kinross wishes to also underscore that the Atacama region has suffered from a protracted drought for many years, resulting in a drop in groundwater levels across the region that is unrelated to CMM's operations,” the company advised.

Kinross acquired its original 50% interest in the Maricunga openpit mine (formerly known as the Refugio mine), located 120 km north-east of Copiapó, in 1998. On February 27, 2007, Kinross acquired the remaining 50% interest in Maricunga through the acquisition of Bema Gold.

In 2015, Maricunga produced 212 155 oz of gold equivalent.


Kinross to fight shutdown of Chilean mine, says it didn't cause low water level
 
The Canadian Press

21 March 2016
 
TORONTO - Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K) says it will mount a legal defence of its Maricunga mine in Chile, which faces the loss of its water source in a drought-ridden part of the country if an environmental regulator gets its way.

The Toronto-based company says a drop in groundwater levels in the area is unrelated to its mining operation, which it says relies solely on water from wells in the Pantanillo area within the Atacama Region.

"Kinross wishes to also underscore that the Atacama region has suffered from a protracted drought for many years, resulting in a drop in groundwater levels across the region that is unrelated to (Maricunga's) operations," it said in a statement

Its says its Maricunga subsidiary and the regulator SMA want the Environmental Tribunal in Santiago to address the issue and render its decision on an expedited basis.

Meanwhile, the mine continues to operate normally.

Kinross says it's committed to responsible environmental management and has spent years studying, understanding and limiting the impact of its water use.


Kinross Gold Slips as Chilean Unit Says Intends to Thwart Evironmental Agency’s Move to Close Pumping Wells

Robin Reyes

http://sonoranweeklyreview.com/kinross-gold-slips-as-chilean-unit-says-intends-to-thwart-evironmental-agencys-move-to-close-pumping-wells-nysekgc/

21 March 2016

Shares of Kinross Gold slipped as it emerged the company’s subsidiary Compani­a Minera Maricunga “intends to file an appeal” after Chile’s environmental regulatory authority started a legal process that seeks the closure of Maricunga mine’s water pumping wells.

In response, Kinross said in a statement Monday: “CMM will respond within the periods allowed by law, and intends to file an appeal with the appropriate Environmental Tribunal. CMM disagrees with the allegations on which the resolution is based, and intends to defend itself vigorously.”

The statement said CMM has taken “numerous measures” and performed various studies over the years to understand the causes of the current situation and mitigate, as appropriate and permitted, any impacts of its water use.

Kinross Gold Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of gold properties. The company was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

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