El Morro gold mine, Chile

Description
According to the company, El Morro project wuld represent Goldcorp’s re-entry into Chile. Goldcorp holds 70% ownership and is the project’s operator, with the remaining 30% held by New Gold. El Morro promises to be a major low-cost gold and copper producer with significant exploration potential, long mine life and strong future cash flow. At December 31, 2012, proven and probable reserves totaled 6.7 million ounces of gold and 4.9 billion pounds of copper.
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Basic Data
NameEl Morro gold mine, Chile
CountryChile
ProvinceAtacama
SiteAlto del Carmen, Huasco
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Mineral processing
Tailings from mines
Specific CommoditiesCopper
Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
El Morro es un proyecto minero de cobre y oro ubicado en la comuna de Alto del Carmen, a 144 km de Vallenar, Región de Atacama. La propiedad del proyecto pertenece a Goldcorp en sociedad con New Gold. Tal como lo describe la OLCA, el proyecto minero El Morro consiste en la construcción y operación por 14 años de una mina a tajo abierto para la extracción de cobre. Se espera obtener 2.215 toneladas de concentrado de cobre por día, para lo que se requieren 90.000 toneladas diarias de mineral y generar diariamente 296.100 toneladas de material estéril y 90.410 toneladas de relaves. Alcanzando estos últimos -al término del proyecto- aproximadamente 450 millones de toneladas, las que serán dispuestas en un depósito contenido por un muro que alcanzará una altura de 230 metros.
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Project Area (in hectares)10,000
Level of Investment (in USD)3,900,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population4000
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesNew Gold Inc. from Canada
Goldcorp Inc from Canada
Relevant government actorsServicio de Evaluación Ambiental, Corte de Antofagasta, Corte de Copiapó, Corte Suprema
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersOCMAL, Comunidad Agrícola Diaguita de Los Huascoaltinos

The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Women
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts
OtherThere are glaciers in the area, as in Pascua Lama
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
OtherLoss of archeological remains
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
Development of AlternativesTo stop the project.

"Solange Bordones , cacica diaguita y vocera de la comunidad de Placeta (Huasco Alto), asegura que "nosotros no estamos peleando por dinero, porque con plata yo no riego mi huerto. Nosotros tenemos una cosmovisión que muy pocos entienden: no concebimos el agua separada de la tierra, del aire y del sol. El amor a la madre tierra es algo sagrado para nosotros, es una vinculación muy potente"... "Nosotros no somos 'descendientes de un pueblo originario', nosotros somos ese pueblo. Y en eso radica nuestro poder, que es ancestral".
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.For the moment (June 2014), the project has been delayed but not stopped yet. There have been several court decisions in both directions. There might be an appeal to the CIDH to enforce proper consultation under Convention 169. There might also be a negotiation between lawyer Lorenzo Soto and the company.

Update: on Oct 7th 2014, the Supreme Court withdrew the environmental clearance and ruled for a consultation process to be opened under the ILO 169 Convention.
Sources and Materials
References

OCMAL, proyecto El Morro (May 2014)
[click to view]

Article on the Diaguitas, and their women leaders, how they have stopped Pascua Lama, Cerro Casale and El Morro
[click to view]

From the company's point of view, May 2014
[click to view]

Description of El Morro by the Goldcorp company
[click to view]

Links

[1] Indígenas frenan millonario proyecto minero en Chile
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update10/10/2014
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