Dominga mine, Coquimbo, Chile

This large project threatens biodiversity at Punta de Choros and Humboldt Penguin Reserve. It is made up by open pit mines for iron ore and copper, a harbor to load the mineral, desalinization and processing plants. There are allegations of corruption.

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns">The Dominga project is made up by 2 open pit mines for iron ore and copper extraction, a harbor to load the mineral, a desalinization plant and a processing plant. The project does not consider the important marine diversity of the Marine Reserve off the coast and relies on corrupted authorities to approve industrial projects. The Andes Iron company´s main shareholder has been jailed for corruption practices by bribing high rank government officials related to national mining policies. The possible environmental impacts on the Marine Reserve are not being compensated or mitigated as required by the law. The project is currently being evaluated by the government. The communities in Punta de Choros expressed opposition against the open cast iron ore mine, which would obtain copper as by product. Investment would be 2.5 billion USD, for the mine and for a harbour in Totoralillo. The firm Andes Iron said that this project would promote development in La Higuera. Since 2014 it has been seeking approval from the SEIA (environmental evaluation system). The project would not be far (only 13 km) from the foreseen coal power station Barracones, which was stopped, in a zone of great marine diversity, Isla Damas and Punta de Choros.  The Movimiento de Defensa de Medioambiente de La Higuera (Modema)  has led the opposition.  </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Dominga mine, Coquimbo, Chile</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/chile">Chile</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Región de Coquimbo</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>La Higuera</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Mineral ore exploration<br /> Water access rights and entitlements<br /> Desalination<br /> Ports and airport projects<br /> Establishment of reserves/national parks</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/copper'>Copper</a><br /><a href='/commodity/iron-ore'>Iron ore</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">12 million tons per year of iron ore. Principal resource is iron ore and copper as a by product. The project will have 2 open pits and one of the pits intervenes an aquifer with vital water for drinking and watering olive orchards. The company promises not to use the water form the aquifer, but they must drain the main pit and reinject the water downstream. This drain and reinject proces is highly experimental and manipulates the natural course of the aquifer.</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">The project considers a harbour with all the activities that are inherent to shipping mineral. There will be a desalinization plant (with high energy cost) and the high salt concentrate will be returned to sea, the ships may introduce exotic species that might endanger the local stocks of shell fish, there is the danger of oil spills and the navegation route crosses a whale migrating highway so they might bump into a whale. <br/><br/>The zones selected for compensating all the impacts are ill choosen: they do not suffer any threat and are pristine, so the company simply can not improve the environmental conditions of these zones. The company has no environmental sensitivity and all it wants is to get the project approved by the local government. The main stakeholder of the project, Alberto Délano has been accused by the Internal Revenue Service for fraud and a former high ranking official of the ministry of mining, Pablo Wagner, has been accused of corruption (Penta case), trying to favor the project in its evaluation process. These two persons have been in jail and the case is pending.<br/><br/>The eventual aproval of the project will be a political decision and the politicians are possibly willing to sacrifice and endanger a Marine Reserve and the Humboldt penguin reserve.<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>2,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>US$2,500,000,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>3,500 persons</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>2011</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/andes-iron-ltd'>Andes Iron Ltd.</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/chile'><small>Chile</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Ministry of Mining<br/><br/>Service of evaluation of environmental impacts SEIA</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Modema<br/><br/>Chao Pescao<br/><br/>OLCA<br/><br/>Ocmal</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>LOW (some local organising)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Fishermen<br /> Informal workers<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Social movements<br /> Women<br /> Local scientists/professionals</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Development of a network/collective action<br /> Development of alternative proposals<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Objections to the EIA<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Arguments for the rights of mother nature<br /> Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment<br /> Refusal of compensation</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>impact on the penguin reserve where 80% of the world´s popuation has its habitat<br/><br/>impact on sensible marine ecosystems</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Possible health problems because of air pollution, mental problems because of loss of quality of life, increase of living costs, loss of serenity, loss of community sense and traditions.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Serious impacts on marine life because of the elevated marine traffic, danger of oil spills, danger of introduction by exotic species, reduction in agricutural activities, fishing and diving, terrifying impact on tourism and tourist attractions like dolfins, whales, sea otters, penguins and the serene seascape of desert islands.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Planned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Corruption<br /> Court decision (undecided)<br /> Application of existing regulations<br /> New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>Modema supports the alternative project proposed by OCEANA Chile for a Marine Reserve that protects the existing islands off the coast and its biodiversity and the sustainable activities like fishing, agriculture and eco turism.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Not Sure</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>The community waits for the official government decision to approve or reject the project. If it is approved the community will ask and look for environmental justice.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br/></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Piden acelerar investigación judicial del proyecto minero Dominga, <br />Tania González |1 de marzo 2016<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Gerente general de Andes Iron, Iván Garrido: “Dominga requerirá del orden de los 10 mil puestos de trabajo sólo para la construcción”, 4 julio 2016<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> 14 Febr. 2014, El proyecto minero que enciende las alarmas en Punta de Choros. El punto de preocupación esta vez no es el carbón. Son los relaves.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Proyecto minero Dominga en tela de juicio por vinculación con caso Penta, Andrés Ojeda |13 de enero 2015<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Viral No a Dominga</strong> cortometraje en oposición al proyecto minero-portuario Dominga<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> <a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Andrés Álvarez president of Modema, the Movement in Defense of the Environment e-mail: [email protected]</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>06/10/2016</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>