Caserones copper mine in northern Chile has been fined $11.9m for breaking environmental rules.
According to Chile’s environmental regulator Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente (SMA), a fine has been levied as the mine failed to implement mitigation measures to avoid contamination of underground water supplies.
Authorities said the mine has violated 17 rules, including the construction of unauthorised transmission lines.
Caserones mine is 77.37%-owned by Japanese company Pan Pacific Copper. The operation was set-up in 2012 and began commercial operations in 2014.
SMA head Cristian Franz told Reuters: "Our country needs initiatives and investments to grow and develop, but they must be very rigorous in complying with environmental obligations."
Pan Pacific Copper is controlled by JX Nippon Mining & Metals under JX Holdings. Japan-based Mitsui holds the remaining stake in the business.
Meanwhile, JX Nippon Mining & Metals Tokyo public relations manager said that the company responded to all directives given by the regulator in 2013, and in order to obey the rules, all measures were put in place and implemented.
In 2014, Caserones produced 19,000t of copper concentrate compared with the 70,000t in the last year, the news agency said.
Output is expected to increase to 150,000t a year of copper concentrate, from August.
Image: Loading a shipment of copper concentrate onto the Koryu carrier ship. Photo: courtesy of Pan Pacific Copper Co Ltd.