Plan to resolve mining liabilities to be ready by year-end - deputy minister

Friday, June 3, 2011

A plan to resolve mining liabilities in Chile will be drawn up before year-end, deputy mining minister Pablo Wagner told BNamericas.

A technical committee, composed of experts recommended by the government and the opposition, was set up by the mining ministry and is already working on the subject, Wagner said.

Currently, the experts are focused on drawing up an accurate diagnosis of the country's mining liabilities, which include tailings dams and mine sites. The committee needs to identify the types of mining liabilities and the owners, if they still exist.

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"This is not an easy task. This information was not available before and the committee has been working on collecting all the possible data to be able to work on potential solutions," Wagner said.

Last year a report in the local media revealed the existence of at least 1,000 environmental liabilities in Chile from mines and plants that have been closed for more than 20 years in most cases.

The mining ministry pledged to create the technical committee earlier this year during a senate discussion on a mine closure bill.

The private mining sector is also keen to help resolve the problem.

"I have been contacted by the most important associations of private mining companies in the country to assure me of their willingness to help in this effort. We will analyze their proposals," Wagner said.