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Exploitation of Manganese Los Pumas, Arica, Chile

The Pumas Project after an impact statement and 3 impact assessments is approved by triggering great social, indigenous and environmental mobilization. After a year of protest, they manage to interrepate the authorities and put an end to the project.

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The Pumas Project is a manganese exploitation project that is developed in the Arica and Parinacota region, province of Parinacota, located 175 km from the city of Arica and 35 km northwest of Putre City. It is operated by the Australian transnational Minera Hemisphere South S.C.M. [1].

The project is presented by 2010 to be evaluated by the Environmental Impact Assessment Service. The exploration campaigns establish that manganese mineralization is present at a length of 3.0 km, with widths of up to 700 m. The mineralized body is from low to medium in-situ law, and its exploitation would be open tag with 20 to 30 meters deep. Resources of the order of 12.5 million ton is estimated. Approximately 10% MN, and an extraction rate of 220,000 ton / month. With a lifespan of 5 years [2].

According to the project, the mineral will be treated in a processing plant, while the solid rejection material will be deposited In three botados located on the side of the plant in Quebrades that drain towards the River Lotion. The fine material that can not be deposited in the Boaken, will be sent to a confined Lamas deposit. The final product will be transported in trucks up to a collection located in an industrial zone of Arica [3].

The transnational presents an environmental impact statement and then In three occasions an environmental impact study (EIA), amid mobilizations against the project by farmers of the Lotion Valley, indigenous Aymara communities and environmental organizations such as the Aymara Coordinator Defense of Natural Resources, the Territorial Council of Padiquiña and the Research Center for the Arts and Culture of the Peoples originating in Arica Parinacota and the Defense Committee of the Valley of Last [4].

The popular discontent lies In the possible impacts on the water resource, specifically the damage on the River Lotion by the Magneso processing plant 200 meters from the river and the 3 sphere and sterile material that will be thrown in the ravines without major re Sguardos and high contents of arsenic, sulfur, aluminum, boron, calcium, iron, lithium, magnesium, partner, silicon and strontium. This could lead to the pollution of the waters that water the flow valley and the underground napas that pump drinking water to Arica, which would also affect the flora and fauna of Lauca National Park [1]. Likewise, the transfer of the mineral to a collection area at the entrance of the Last Valley would cause great impact on the valley because it has occurred in this journey of great tonnage trucks. In addition, the proximity of Villa Industrial and Gallinas to the collection of mineral could cause damage to the health of the inhabitants [5]. A deposit is contemplated that would occupy 52 Hás with a depth of 15 meters where the resulting waste will be thrown, in an area declared in the EIA as an area of ​​complex movements, alludes and avalanches by the slope pronounced towards the river LLUTA [1].

Despite this, on August 19, 2013, the Regional Authorities unanimously approved the Project Los Pumas and in response citizens blocked with rows of vehicles the path that Join the road with Bolivia, Route 5 north to Peru and access to the airport, and subsequently organized a demonstration with more than 4000 summoned in the city of Arica, trying to occupy regional governance. The demonstration is dispersed by special forces and resulted at least 50 detainees and seriously injured [1]. However, all year 2013 is characterized by an intense panorama of mobilizations and collective actions against mining, between cacerolazos, more paths of roads, march for life and water and a large regional unemployment (September 30, 2013 [7]. Particularly, Indigenous Aymara communities denounce the violation of current environmental regulations and ILO Convention 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples since during the environmental impact assessment process no indigenous consultation process was carried out as established by law . In addition, the project was evaluated in the first instance under the modality of a declaration of environmental impact and no environmental impact study, which does not include instances of citizen participation [1].

2015 The Appeals Court of ARICA welcomed a protection resource presented by various indigenous, environmental and citizen organizations against the approval of the Mining Project Los Pumas. In unanimous failure, the second hall of the court accepted the presentation against environmental assessment and the Intendance of the Arica and Parinacota region who had approved the project [4]. On November 25 of the same year, Gabriela Meza, Legal Adviser of the Monitarity Board of the River Last, stated that the suspension of the Manganese Mining Project Los Pumas, after the ARICA Appeals Court failed against favorable rating From the project by the Environmental Assessment Commission, it is a triumph of the citizenship of Arica, mainly due to the danger in the containment of mining tailings and the possible contamination of aquifers. Also, seeing the fields contaminated, it will influence the decrease in livestock and in the right of property [4].

Meza explained that with this sentence the project returns to Zero pages, however, the SEA has 10 days to appeal before the Supreme Court. Hermann Mondaca, spokesman for the Council of the citizenship of Arica, declared that the citizenship of Arica is happy with this triumph of all and all. The ruling is signed by Minister Rodrigo Olavarría, the Judicial Prosecutor Rubén Morales, and the Attorney Enzo Alvarado, where it is affirmed that the environmental qualification resolution (RCA) approved last August, did not comply with the regulations linked to respect for The communities originating in the area. In addition, the resolution comprised to start 2,320 yaretas (Azorella compact, native of the Puna of the Andes and Protected Species) and endangers the waters of the Tarapacá slope, area where the trucks with minerals and toxic waste through the Lauca National Park would transit [6].

is also determined that the regulations relating to the protection of national parks was infringed given the proximity of the Lauca National Park and the National Service of Geology and Mining Indicates that the study is insufficient since the company does not deliver basic information regarding impacts on aquifers, on productive use, fauna and flora [4].

According to information awarded by the Regional Secretary of Environment Near 2017, Alfredo Devotto Moreno, the project was rejected product from the inconsistencies of the EIA, which of arranging, could re-present. However, up to date (2020), there is no new evaluation [7].

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Exploitation of Manganese Los Pumas, Arica, Chile
State or province:ARICA AND PARINAQUE.
Location of conflict:Putre.
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Mineral ore exploration
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific commodities:Manganese
Project Details and Actors
Project details

12.5 million tons, with an approximate content of 10% more rate of extraction of the order of 220,000 tons of mineral per month, and a lifespan of 5 years

Level of Investment for the conflictive project100,000,000.
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:10,000
Start of the conflict:2013
End of the conflict:2015
Company names or state enterprises:Minera Hemisferio Sur S.C.M from Chile
Relevant government actors:ARICA Appeals Court,
Second courtroom (Minister Rodrigo Olavarría, the Judicial Prosecutor Rubén Morales and the Attorney Integrant Enzo Alvarado),
Environmental Assessment Commission, chaired by the Intendant José Durana,
Environmental assessment service
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Farmers of the Lotion Valley,
Aymara communities,
Aymara Coordinator Defense Natural Resources,
Territorial Council of Chapiquiña,
Research Center for the Arts and Culture of the Peoples originating in Arica Parinacota,
Defense Committee of the Lotion Valley,
Gabriela Meza, Legal Advisor of the Monitoring Board of the River Limuta, Hermann Mondaca, spokesman for the Council of Arica,
Comunal Union of Putre,
Lotion River Surveillance Board
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Mine tailing spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impactsDanger by proximity to Lauca National Park
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases, Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsIt affects an indigenous Aymara population, livestock and agriculture.
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The mining project The manganese exploitation cougars violated the regulations regarding the protection of national parks given the proximity of the Lauca National Park and violated Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) by not making the consultation with the communities of The original peoples.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Convenio 169 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT)

Artículo 19, N° 8, Constitución Política de la República de Chile.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[7] Karem Angélica Pereira Acuña, 2018. Movimientos sociales frente a la minería en la región de Arica y Parinacota, Chile Social. En Acción colectiva, movimientos sociales, sociedad civil y participación, Vol. 2.
[click to view]

[1] OCMAL. Ficha del conflicto minero Los Pumas.
[click to view]

[2] Minería en Línea (2013) Proyecto Minero Los Pumas. Descripción.
[click to view]

[3]Ficha del Proyecto: Los Pumas. Declaración de Impacto Ambiental (desistido)
[click to view]

[4] Radio del Mar, 2013 en OLCA. Convenio 169 y Parque Nacional frenan imposición de mina Los Pumas en Arica.
[click to view]

[5] Mapa de Conflictos Socioambientales en Chile. En Biblioteca digital Institudo Nacional de Derechos Humanos.
[click to view]

[6] RadioUChile. 2013. usticia deja sin efecto aprobación ambiental del proyecto minero Los Pumas en Arica.
[click to view]

Diario La Segunda, 2013. Protestas en Arica: aprueban instalación de minera Los Pumas en Parinacota.
[click to view]

RadioUChile. 2013. Justicia deja sin efecto aprobación ambiental del proyecto minero Los Pumas en Arica.
[click to view]

Mapa de Conflictos Socioambientales en Chile. En Biblioteca digital Institudo Nacional de Derechos Humanos.
[click to view]

CNN Chile: Dirigenta de la Asamblea Ciudadana de Arica reclama contra la aprobación del proyecto “Los Pumas”
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Movilización social en Arica por aprobación de proyecto minero Los Pumas, 2013.
[click to view]

Resumen de la votación de la Comisión de Evaluación Ambiental Proyecto Los Pumas, 2013.
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update29/04/2020
Conflict ID:352
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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