Dominga offers water to all the commune of La Higuera
17 January 2022 | News
From the Andes Iron company, they assure that there is a real desire for understanding with the community that now has been resistant to the mining project, for which a series of new proposals were designed, that according to the firm, would address the main socio-environmental concerns of the community.
A new conciliation hearing for the Dominga project must be held between the parties on a date to be agreed, after the hearing that was to take place this Wednesday in the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court, was left without effect as a result of that one of the summoned parties presented problems with one of the powers of attorney presented.
This within the framework of the appeals filed by opponents of the Dominga mining-port project.
It must be remembered that after the arguments for said resources against the decision of the First Environmental Court, which in April of this year unanimously accepted the claim in favor of the initiative presented by the owner Andes Iron, company controlled by the Délano family, ended with the Court deciding to call the parties to conciliation.
The audience was attended by lawyers and representatives of the NGOs Oceana, FIMA, MODEMA, the Association of Fishermen and Shellfishers of Los Choros, and of course, the Andes Iron company.
The communities affected by the mining project as well as environmental organizations, have harshly criticized the conciliation, pointing out on the one hand, that the process that has allowed Dominga to be kept alive is full of irregularities, and on the other hand, that the conciliations are not a natural part of this procedure.
In this regard, Ezio Costa, executive director of the NGO FIMA and lawyer for Oceana, pointed out that for this reason “indeed, there was no possibility of conciliation (…) because what is being studied in the procedure, finally, is whether the act through which the project was rejected, the decision of the Committee of Ministers, is legal or not legal. That is the question. So it is very difficult to reach an agreement because what the Court has to resolve is that legality”.
For her part, MODEMA’s lawyer, Alejandra Donoso, pointed out that “we received with great surprise the call for conciliation made by the Supreme Court, because the truth is, this is a procedure not contemplated in the law, or in the appeal procedure, in which we are at currently (…) It is not the role of the Supreme Court in this case, to play the friendly fixer because this is not a civil trial where there are legal rights available”, she explained.
From the opposite side, although no statements were issued, Andes Iron ratified their willingness to reconcile and to do so, they released a document with 50 new proposals of a socio-environmental nature, that address the concerns of the parties, providing answers to each one of them.
Among the new measures presented by the company -which contemplate an investment of more than 400 million dollars- stand out, for example, the provision of desalinated water for human consumption for 100% of the commune of La Higuera during the entire useful life of the project (25 years), minimize the sea route by proposing that the entry and exit of ships be from the high seas directly to Totoralillo Norte and vice versa, so that the same route that is currently contemplated -and therefore evaluated- for the departure of ships, be used for your arrival.
Likewise, it is proposed to reduce the shipping traffic areas to only 15% of those initially contemplated, eliminating the route from the port of Coquimbo to Totoralillo Norte, and minimizing the traffic flow of ships to only one ship per week on average. This seeks to reduce the time of the intervention in the sensitive area by more than 40%.
In addition, it is intended to provide the commune of La Higuera with purchasing power for copper sulphide minerals, in the first instance.
Meanwhile, from the Communal Association of La Higuera, its spokesman Alexis Sánchez, made a call to respect environmental institutionality, after various social and environmental organizations criticized the conciliation determined by the Supreme Court.
“It is very frustrating to see how people from outside the commune or from abroad, who are not even part of this process and have just become interested in it, try to pressure our institutions in a totally illegitimate way,” he said, adding that on their part , there is full confidence “in our technical institutions, all of which have systematically supported this project in terms of strict compliance with all environmental standards,” he said.