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The Chilean supreme court ordered Santiago-based mining group Antofagasta Minerals to devise a plan ensuring that the spring which supplies water to the village of Caimanes, adjacent to its Los Pelambres copper mine, be reopened.
In its ruling, the court said that the El Mauro tailings dam, which serves Los Pelambres, negatively impacts local residents, as the tailings have infiltrated underground aquifers and blocked the normal water course.
The country's constitution, which guarantees the right to live in a pollution-free environment, has empowered local communities to stop the development of various projects.
The court gave Antofagasta Minerals a month to come up with a plan to ensure free access to the Pupío spring by removing, either entirely or in part, the structures blocking its course, or by building a new structure that would return the water.
The company said in a statement that it is currently reviewing the court ruling and has already begun working to address the issue.
Antofagasta Minerals is controlled by London-listed Antofagasta plc, the mining arm of Chile's Luksic group.