Press Release

Chile: Senate Mining Commission unanimously dispatches project that makes viable the cessation of the Ventanas smelter

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2023

This is an automated translation of the press release issued in Spanish

The Mining and Energy Commission of the Senate this morning dispatched the bill that modifies Law No. 19,993, which makes it possible to close the Ventanas smelter. The five senators that make up the instance unanimously approved the latest indication presented by the Executive, in which definitions were established on the future installation of new smelting capacity, and how its compatibility with the environment and the protection of the health of the people and the environment.

In his speech before the Commission, the president of the Codelco board of directors, Máximo Pacheco , highlighted that the initiative will allow the company to advance in its objective of doing responsible mining with environmental protection. “For us this project is strategic. I have shared with this commission that the most important issue in world mining is how we advance in responsibility with the environment and in harmony with our communities. As the main copper producer in the world, today we are inspected for the traceability of our products,” he said.

Along with thanking the commission for the initiative's support, Pacheco stressed that the project addresses the main concern expressed by parliamentarians, related to the cessation of operations, guaranteeing a just transition.

“As Codelco we were able to dialogue and agree with the workers, both direct and contractors, how this is going to be done with the least possible impact on their lives. That work has been completed and we have clearly established that of the universe of people who work today at the Ventanas smelter, one group will relocate to other divisions, another will settle within the division and a third group will benefit from a plan special retreat that we have already designed and agreed with the union leaders and the workers”, he commented.

Regarding the impact on small-scale mining, Pacheco stressed that the closure of the smelter will not mean economic impacts. "I want to be very clear and that there is no doubt, the purchasing power that we have today in Ventanas, which is where Enami's concentrates arrive, will remain in the same place," he emphasized.

Meanwhile, the president of the Commission, Loreto Carvajal, highlighted the dialogue that took place in the discussion of this project. “One of the first commitments that we assumed as a commission was precisely that this body was the body that laid the foundations for better communication. We had here the leaders of all the workers, local authorities, the Government and as valid interlocutors we were able to understand that a better space had to be created and that was the case”, he described.

The initiative is expected to be voted on in the room soon.


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