Complaint by Andes Iron against Seremi of the environment of Coquimbo declared admissible

18 August 2023 | News

The Guarantee Court of La Serena declared admissible the complaint filed by Andes Iron against the Seremi de Medio Ambiente of the Coquimbo Region, Leonardo Gros, and against all those responsible, for the crimes of administrative prevarication and falsification due to concealment of official documents. and public instrument.

In its complaint, the company details that Mr. Gros, and possibly other officials, have used the administrative process of a Protected Marine Coastal Area (AMCPMU) to severely, or even totally limit the development of future productive activities of the Dominga project and other industrial initiatives in that area, such as ports, desalination plants, bioceanic corridors, among others, for which they have engaged in criminal behavior.

The first criminal conduct identified in the complaint occurred in the adjudication process and subsequent approval by Mr. Gros of a justifying technical report for the implementation of the AMCP-MU, which was intended to be used as “technical support” for the Council of Ministers for Sustainability and Climate Change to resolve on the matter. Maliciously, said report, prepared by the GEAM consultancy, omitted to mention the current maritime concession that Andes Iron SpA has, to operate a maritime terminal and a desalination plant.

It should be noted that the Regional Commission for the Use of the Coastal Edge (“CRUBC”) expressed its support for the Dominga Project to be the holder of a maritime concession in the bay of Totoralillo Norte, which was granted by Supreme Decree No. 405 of July 18th of 2012, of the Ministry of National Defense.

For the preparation of the aforementioned report, workshops were also held to disseminate the proposal for the creation of the AMCP-MU, which had a very low participation of the communities and local coves (in some cases, with only seven people from the community).  It was detected that, in order to increase the number of participants, some of the attendees appear with up to four different positions, giving the appearance of citizen participation alien to reality.

The inconsistencies in the technical report prepared by GEAM were reported by Andes Iron to the Coquimbo Regional Ministerial Secretary for the Environment, informing him of the very serious irregularities of the omissions contained in the technical report, and in the low citizen participation in the elaboration of the project. However, as the principal of said project, the defendant Gros ignored said observations, not requesting the correction or complementation of the justifying technical report.

Subsequently, at the meeting called for July 7th of this year by the Ministry of the Environment to the Council of Ministers for Sustainability and Climate Change to resolve on the AMCP-MU, Mr. Gros, despite being in the background of the omissions contained in the report, deliberately concealed the existence of this maritime concession from the rest of the members of the Council. In said meeting, he affirmed that the proposed polygon did not overlap with current concessions granted in the area, omitting any reference

to the Andes Iron maritime concession, and even affirmed that in the case of the Dominga project “at this minute it is rejected, it does not have a marine concession, it does not exist in the territory, and therefore our proposal does not consider it…”. It should be noted that in a public statement on July 13th, the Ministry of the Environment indicated that Mr. Gros’ statements “…only responded to a confusion at the time about projects that are in the area”.

Lawyer Ignacio Ried, sponsor of the complaint, indicated that “we are facing an authority, which together with other people that we hope to identify, have carried out a series of criminal actions in order to harm the Dominga project, for which they have even been willing to deliver false information to all the members of the Council of Ministers for Sustainability and Climate Change in order to maliciously influence the deliberations of said body”.

The crimes consigned in the complaint have the character of “serious”, and one of them contemplates a penalty that amounts to up to ten years of imprisonment in its minimum degree.

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