Chile Supreme Court halts Goldcorp’s El Morro mine development

7 October 2014 (Last Updated October 7th, 2014 18:30)

Chile's Supreme Court has halted the development of Goldcorp's El Morro gold and copper mine and told the company to hold consultations with the Huascoaltinas Diaguita indigenous group and farmers.

Chile's Supreme Court has halted the development of Goldcorp's El Morro gold and copper mine and told the company to hold consultations with the Huascoaltinas Diaguita indigenous group and farmers.

The $3.9bn El Morro mine is 70%-owned by Goldcorp and 30% by New Gold.

The ruling of the country's top court is the result of an on-going battle over the project between Goldcorp and indigenous communities, as the Diaguita community contended that the mine would impact natural resources and pollute water at a local river.

"The Diaguita community contended that the mine would impact natural resources and pollute water at a local river."

Diaguita leader Maglene Campillay was quoted by Associated Press as saying: "The Diaguita people are happy that justice is on the side of the humble, of those who defend Mother Earth, our water resources and our indigenous land."

The community appealed in the Supreme Court after a lower court passed an order in favour of the mine in April when the indigenous communities declared their concerns to the Supreme Court of their concerns and urged the company to consult with them about the project.

Goldcorp spokesperson Christine Marks said: "The company remained committed to open and transparent dialogue with its stakeholders and to responsible practices in accordance with the highest applicable health, safety and environmental standards."

This is the third time that Goldcorp will have to halt construction at the mine. The company previously suspended work in April 2012, when the Supreme Court rejected the environmental permit and again in November 2013 after a local court held Goldcorp guilty of not following required practices to regain the mining licence for the project.

With this latest Supreme Court order, production at El Morro which was scheduled for 2017, is likely to be delayed further.

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