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SMA dictates measures against Gold Fields mining company after failure to comply with the chinchilla rescue plan

The Superintendence of the Environment (SMA) ordered urgent and temporary measures to the project “Environmental Impact Study Salares Norte Project”, of the company Minera Gold Fields Salares Norte SpA and which is located in the mountain range of the Atacama Region.

Specifically, the Salares Norte project is located 180 km northeast of the commune of Diego de Almagro, Atacama Region, at an average altitude between 3,900 meters (camp) and 4,700 meters (pit) above sea level. . The project is related to the processing and production of doré metal (gold and silver).

SMA dictates measures against Gold Fields mining company after failure to comply with the chinchilla rescue plan

As explained by the SMA, the measure is carried out after verifying that in the progress report of actions committed in the compliance program that it is executing – in particular, at the beginning of the dismantling of rockery No. 3 of the Mine Area sector – Plant – There is no certainty about the absence of specimens of the Chinchilla chinchilla species, which is classified as “critically endangered.”

“The owner would not be complying with the rescue and relocation plan for this species, as established in its qualification resolution,” the SMA said in a statement.

In detail, the measures ordered to Minera Gold Fields consist, first of all, of the prohibition of carrying out dismantling activities of rock rock No. 3, in the mine-plant area sector.

“This measure will be verified by the presentation of documentation that proves that the liberation of the aforementioned rock area did not continue to be carried out. The execution period is 10 calendar days from the notification of the aforementioned resolution,” he explained.

Secondly, the SMA commented that it was ordered to send information related to the execution of the rescue and liberation activities of rock rock No. 3. This in order to “reliably prove the total absence of specimens of the Chinchilla species.”

SMA dictates measures against Gold Fields mining company after failure to comply with the chinchilla rescue plan. In the photo: Superintendent of the Environment, Marie Claude Plumer

“This measure will be verified by presenting all original files that record camera traps, tomahawk traps, night vision cameras and endoscopic probes. The execution period is 5 calendar days from the notification of the indicated resolution,” he added.

In this regard, the Superintendent of the Environment, Marie Claude Plumer commented that “There has been no certainty of the absence of a population of chinchillas to be able to proceed with the dismantling in rock number 3. Here the objective is to be able to guarantee the protection of this species that is in critical danger and whose protection is part of the measures contemplated in the RCA of the project.”

This project has a sanctioning procedure that began in December 2021, among whose charges are “the deficient implementation of rescue measures in rocks” and non-compliance with Urgent and Temporary Measures ordered in 2020 due to the impact of Chinchilla chinchilla individuals”, added the SMA

For its part, Felipe Sanchezhead of the Atacama regional office, said that “this is a project that is constantly being monitored by our Regional Office team, in coordination with the SAG Atacama, for its environmental impact on the fauna of the mountain range of the Atacama Region. , and in particular, due to its importance and that in its Environmental Qualification Resolution special measures were established for this species.”

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