Chile’s environmental submissions down 33% in 2022

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, January 19, 2023
Chile’s environmental submissions down 33% in 2022

Projects submitted to Chile’s environmental evaluation service (SEA) totaled 626 in 2022, 33% fewer than in 2021, while planned investments fell 24.7%, with a sharp drop in energy initiatives. 

The proposed investments total US$40.9bn compared to US$54.1bn the previous year, according to SEA’s monthly report. 

There were 164 energy projects submitted involving US$15.7bn compared with 432 and nearly US$37bn in 2021.

Mining projects totaled 103, just one less than in 2021, although planned investments plummeted from nearly US$5.9bn to US$1.6bn. 

Transport infrastructure submissions rose from four to 11, while proposed investments increased from US$590mn to US$1.5bn. 

Water infrastructure projects fell from 31 in 2021 to 23 last year, though investments jumped from US$1.5bn to US$15bn, to a large extent because the US$5bn Aguas Marítimas desalination project was resubmitted twice.

The number of port infrastructure projects, listed separately, dropped from nine to six, though investments increased from US$28mn to US$61mn.


A total of 362 projects involving US$15bn were approved by the SEA last year, compared to 515 and US$25.6bn in 2021. 

Energy approval went from 244 and nearly US$8.9bn to 166 approvals and US$5.2bn.

Mining approvals dropped from 59 to 43, while proposed investments fell from US$9.2bn to US$3.6bn. 

Transport infrastructure approvals remained at four, but planned investments plummeted from US$2.7bn to US$608mn. This was because 2021 saw the approval of the US$2.5bn line N°7 of Santiago’s metro. 

Water infrastructure approvals increased from five to six, while proposed investments rose from US$53mn to US$111mn.

Two port infrastructure projects involving US$16mn were approved last year, compared to none in 2021. 


Project submissions in December numbered 44, one less than the previous month, though planned investments fell from US$1.8bn to US$1.45bn, dragged down by energy and mining. 

Energy led last month’s submissions with 18 projects, nine more than November, involving nearly US$1.1bn compared to US$956mn.

Mining proposals fell from five to one, with planned investments falling from US$161mn to US$12.5mn. 

There were no new submissions for transport infrastructure projects last month, just like in November. Neither were there submissions for port infrastructure in December.

Water infrastructure proposals remained flat at three, but investments fell from US$8.4mn in November to US$1.9mn.

The biggest projects submitted for evaluation in December were: 

Junquillos wind farm (US$570mn)
Urbanya industrial-housing development-stage 1 (US$203mn)
Terrazas photovoltaic park (US$120mn)

In terms of approvals, SEA gave the final nod to 27 projects in December, four more than in November, though investments dropped from US$1.4bn to US$994mn. 

Seven energy projects were approved last month versus six in November, but investments dropped from US$592mn to US$79mn. 

Mining approvals rose from three to five, while investments increased from US$214mn to US$352mn.

No water infrastructure projects were approved by SEA last month, the same as in November. Only one port infrastructure proposal worth US$30,000 was given the green light in December.

In the case of transport infrastructure, there were two approvals compared to one the month before, while planned investments increased from US$142mn to US$269mn.

The biggest projects approved by the SEA in December were: 

Adaptation of mining works for operational continuity of Lomas Bayas Mining Company (US$254mn)
Alameda-Estación Central underground rail link (US$250mn)

All but one of the projects approved in December were submitted with an environmental impact assessment (EIA), as opposed to an environmental impact study (EIS), which takes longer to review. 

As of December 31, there were 385 projects under environmental evaluation, of which 314 were submitted with an EIA and 71 with an EIS.

On average it takes the SEA 76 working days to review an EIA, while an EIS requires an average of 165.

The government has stated that it will keep seeking to strengthen environmental protections and citizen participation process, saying that evaluation times can be shortened without weakening oversight.

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