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25 June 2018
On 18 March 2016 the government, through the State Council of Defence, filed a compensation claim for environmental damage against mining company Pampa Camarones SA. Previously, the Environmental Service had issued the company with fines of approximately $3.1 million under Resolution 80/2015, rectified by Resolution 455/2015, which were confirmed by:
The Pampa Camarones project is located in Camarones in the Arica and Parinacota Region in northern Chile, which borders Peru. The project comprises two sub-projects:
The compensation claim was based on the fact that the Pampa Camarones cathode plant's operations had violated a series of measures that the EAR had stipulated to protect the nearby Salamanqueja archaeological site. Pampa Camarones undertook the project without collecting the required 20% of lithic remains that would have constituted a representative sample and thus safeguarded the site's scientific, cultural and heritage value. As a result, over 15 hectares of the site were destroyed without the required measures being taken to protect the site's archaeological value. The lithic remains that Pampa Camarones destroyed included the archaeological remains of ancient human settlements from 3500BC to 900BC.
The defendant claimed that it had already rescued 109 lithic remains, which met the EAR's threshold of 20% of lithic remains. In addition, Pampa Camarones highlighted the site's homogenous character, which meant that the archaeological work carried out in one section would not affect the representativeness of the sample of artefacts gathered.
In its 29 March 2018 decision, the Santiago Second Environmental Court found that the damage that had been caused was irreparable due to the following factors:
As the damage was deemed irreparable, Pampa Camarones was ordered to repair the damage through a compensation repair programme, as set out by the court.
For further information on this topic please contact Trinidad Prieto at Montt y Cia SA by telephone (+56 22 233 8266) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Montt y Cia SA website can be accessed at www.monttgroup.com.
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