Medical Association rejects powder transfer of concentrates in the port of Antofagasta

Thursday, September 6, 2018

By the Medical Association of Chile.

This press release was published using a machine translation system.

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The Medical Association of Chile, rejected the announcement of the new system of shipment of concentrates, through of containers, with concentrated powder with heavy metals, which will be transported by trucks from Sierra Gorda mine and then turned directly into the warehouses of the ships in the port of Antofagasta.

The refusal of the association is due to concerns over the increase in lung cancer in the area, and the announcement by Antofagasta Terminal Internacional Luksic Group, which according to the medical profession, will increase the risk of lung cancer, and intensify the operation of the main collection of heavy metals, located in the largest warehouse, called RAEC, in the port center of Antofagasta.

According to the association, pollution contingency measures continue without positive results in Antofagasta, whose supervising body of the processes underway is the Superintendency of Environment (SMA), which is a product of the high air pollution in the city and has transformed Antofagasta into a zone of sacrifice and the highest incidence of cancer at the country level.

"For this reason, before the change of boarding system, and the imminent increase of environmental pollution, product of a system of dump or trasvasije of load of the containers of the trucks to the cellars of the ships, we requested publicly to the Superintendency of Environment, increase the control, ensuring that there is no contamination and also for the SMA to verify a correct cleaning, which must be carried out by the port firm in the heart of Antofagasta," assured the regional secretary of the Medical Association of Antofagasta, Dr. Hugo Benítez.


Similarly, the Medical Association of Chile, rejected that the health plan, corresponding to the Regional Ministry of Health of Antofagasta, still not be applied in the commune, to take care of the health of citizens.

"We need the health authority of Antofagasta to understand its role in this contingency, an aspect that is clearly determined in the Sanitary Code, which provides broad powers to protect the health of the population," said regional president Antofagasta of the Medical Association, Dr. Aliro Bolados.

According to Dr. Bolados, "it is inexplicable, that before this change in the boarding system and the permanence of arsenic and heavy metals in the streets of Antofagasta, the health authority still does not apply the respective health plan with the measures of self-protection to the population, in order to avoid the entry of pollution into homes and to avoid, the consequent risk of cancer for children, adults and chronic patients, "said the regional president Antofagasta Medical Association, Dr. Aliro Bolados.

According to the medical association, the new process of loading concentrate, using dump containers and trasferije of ultrafine metallic pollutants, from 2.5 to 10 microns, direct from the trucks to the holds of the ships, will only transfer the problem of pollution, from the old warehouses to the same warehouses, and from there to the environment of Antofagasta, which must be avoided and supervised permanently by the authorities.

The Medical Association noted that the authorization of the companies of the Luksic group (ATI, FCAB and truck companies) for the shipment procedure, represents a maximum of 54 train cars and 115 trucks per day with a polymetallic concentrate to the port of Antofagasta, whose The product is equivalent to only 28% copper and 72% arsenic and heavy metals from Minera Sierra Gorda.


By the same token, the Medical Association also rejected the maintenance of the RAEC blue warehouse, a larger stockpiling, which according to the firm ATI will continue to operate in the heart of Antofagasta, which represents a danger to the health of the community.

In this way, the Medical Association of Chile, called on the Government to go further in the measures and put an end to the shipment of concentrates through the port of Antofagasta, protecting the health of the inhabitants of Antofagasta. "The best solution to the problem is for the Government to order the definitive transfer of the RAEC blue shed and all its loading and unloading processes, outside the urban area of ​​Antofagasta, resolving its final destination through a port far from the population and solving the problem of slaughter area that affects Antofagasta ", said both doctors.

"As long as there is a transfer of powder from concentrates, in the warehouses of the warehouses or in the main house, the danger of inhaling and ingesting contamination in Antofagasta is permanently maintained," according to the regional secretary of the Medical Association of Antofagasta and president of the Department. of Environment of the entity at the local level, Dr. Hugo Benítez.


In this sense, the regional president of the Medical Association of Antofagasta, Dr. Aliro Bolados, said that this situation creates a serious risk to health. "The Antofagasta and the Antofagasta Region citizenship has a chronic chronicity due to the ingestion and inhalation of arsenic and heavy metals, which is why the population has a greater susceptibility to cancer, evidenced in the statistics of high incidence of the disease, that puts Antofagasta in the first place at the country level and also in the world," he said.

"For this reason, the maintenance of loading and unloading operations, of powder of ultra-fine polymetallic concentrates, in the heart of the city, with transfer to the same ships, also has a risk of lung cancer that should be avoided," said both leaders.

Likewise, the union representatives confirmed that once ATI completes the cleaning of the streets surrounding the port of Antofagasta, by order of the Superintendency of Environment, the Medical Association of Chile will again take samples in the areas surrounding the port terminal , to analyze if the presence of heavy metals, continues or does not present in the public road of Antofagasta.

Antofagasta, September 6, 2018.