Chile’s environmental submissions flat in November, but investments keep dropping

Bnamericas Published: Friday, December 16, 2022
Chile’s environmental submissions flat in November, but investments keep dropping

Forty-five projects were submitted to Chile’s environmental evaluation service (SEA) during November, the same as in October, but proposed investments remained on a downward trend seen so far this year, dropping from US$1.9bn to US$1.8bn.

The energy sector led November’s submissions with nine projects, four less than October. Planned investments in the sector fell from US$1.3bn to almost US$1.1bn, SEA’s monthly report shows.

Mining projects fell from 10 in October to five last month, though proposed investments increased from US$25mn to US$161mn.

There were no project submissions for transport infrastructure in November, while there was one in October.

There were three water infrastructure project submissions in November involving US$8mn compared to none in October.

Only one port infrastructure project worth US$1mn was presented in November. There were none the previous month.

The largest projects presented last month were:

Increased throughput at Gabriela Mistral copper mine (US$153mn)
Pampa Fidelia wind farm (US$645mn)
Parina Solar photovoltaic park (US$248mn)

A total of 582 projects involving US$39.4bn were submitted for evaluation between January and November, compared to 867 proposals and US$50.4bn a year earlier.


Twenty-three projects were approved in November. While that is an increase from 17 in October, investments fell from US$2.1bn to US$1.4bn. 

Energy approvals dropped from nine to six, but investments increased from US$277mn to US$592mn.

Three mining projects were approved last month, compared to just one in October, but investments dropped from US$987mn to US$215mn.

One transport infrastructure proposal worth US$142mn was approved in November, compared to none the previous month.

There were no approved projects in port or water infrastructure, the same as in October.

The biggest projects to be approved in November were:

Poeta Pedro Prado housing complex (US$213mn)
Loa airport expansion and improvement (US$142mn)
Sol del Loa photovoltaic plant optimization (US$480mn)
Arqueros copper mine (US$200mn)

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

As of last month, it took an average of 76 working days to review an EIA, while an EIS took 164. 

Between January and November, SEA approved 333 projects involving US$13.9bn, down from 444 approvals and US$20bn during the same period 2021.

Authorities have said they will seek to speed up permitting processes for investment projects, but insist that will not mean a relaxation of environmental evaluation standards, which the government is aiming to raise.

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