Chile votes down US$2.5bn Dominga project

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chilean iron ore-copper project Dominga has failed to secure its environmental permit, after the evaluation service (SEA) of Coquimbo region (IV) voted it down.

Voting on the US$2.5bn initiative, submitted by local group Andes Iron, was split equally at six for and six against, with regional governor Claudio Ibáñez casting the deciding vote against the project.

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Dominga has been facing strong opposition from environmental groups, which claim it will have a negative impact on the biodiversity of the area.

The project has been in the news in recent days after radio station Biobío reported that a private investment fund partly owned by former president Sebastián Piñera (2010-14) was one of the early investors in the project. The allegation was dismissed by Andes Iron.

Dominga is a 25-year iron ore project, with copper as its main byproduct. Planned production is 12Mt/y of iron ore and 150,000t/y of copper in concentrates.

The project envisions two open pit areas, Rajo Norte and Rajo Sur, as well as a processing facility, a dump site, a thickened tailings dam and auxiliary facilities, including a desalination plant and a new port to export output.

Andes Iron did not immediately reply when contacted by BNamericas.