MAC/20: Mines and Communities

First Legal Action in Chile to Prevent Pascua Lama Mining Project

Published by MAC on 2006-03-03

First Legal Action in Chile to Prevent Pascua Lama Mining Project

by Julio Nahuelhual

3rd March 2006

La Tercera Online www.tercera.cl

This week the first legal action was filed to prevent initiation of the Pascua Lama project, a mining project carrying investments of U$1.6 billion. The legal claim was filed by Huasco Valley businessperson and farmer, Jaime Perelló Arias, who filed a claim before the Appeals Court in Santiago on January 27 2006, against the National Environmental Comission (CONAMA). The claim, filed by lawyers Eduardo Rodríguez Guarachi and Marcelo Castillo of law firm Etcheberry-Rodriguez, seeks to declare null and void, Resolution #39 of the year 2001, made by COREMA of Region 3, which gave environmental approval to the mining project.

The lawsuit presented by Perelló - who is the owner of farms Las Ventanas and Valparaíso in the zone and who owns water rights for much of the river Huasco - claims that CONAMA has acted unconstitutionally in many respects concerning their resolution. Specifically, the businessman alleges that the project will harm his rights to use water in the region.

The presentation of Jaime Perelló is the first of what is expected to be an avalanche of new judicial actions. According to sources involved in the case, other appeals and legal representations to the environmental authorities will be filed by environmentalists and farmers in the region.

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