The $3.3bn LBIP aims to extend the life of the project by expanding the current open pit within Los Bronces’ operating site. It will also access higher-grade ore from the mine’s new underground section.
The recommendation for the project has been issued by Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service (SEA). A firm decision on the life extension of the mine would be announced next week.
According to the SEA, the LBIP meets all relevant environmental regulations. However, it lacks information that removes uncertainties about the project’s potential risk to public health.
Anglo said that the recommendation is despite the project’s support offered by 23 of the 25 technical services bodies and government ministries.
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The firm said in a statement: “Anglo American also firmly believes that all appropriate information has been provided throughout the evaluation process and that this information has been appropriately socialised at every available opportunity within the regulated permitting process, including through formal meetings and via written submissions.”
Anglo American said that the project will use the existing processing facilities of the mine, requires no further water or tailings storage facilities and optimises water efficiency.
In a press statement, the firm said: “LBIP represents a significant investment in the future of one of Chile’s largest copper mines and is an example of modern mining where the full range of sustainability considerations have been consulted on and designed in from the outset.”
Anglo American said that the permitting process, in the event of SEA’s negative decision, allowed for further review to evaluate the project’s full range of merits together with the technical permitting considerations.
The company statement adds: “Anglo American is committed to following the established process and is working with the Chilean authorities to demonstrate that all potential impacts have been fully mitigated and to secure approval for the project.”