World’s largest copper producing nation is in trouble

It was announced last week that one of the leading producers of copper in Chile, Antofagasta, is in trouble with environmental regulators of the South American country. The mine of Los Pelambres 

is at the centre of the controversy and State regulatory body SMA said in a statement that it is charging Los Pelambres with a total of nine infractions. With regulators noting that five of these charges 

are considered “serious”, while four charges are of a more minor nature.

When listed, the violations are certainly of a serious offence, 3 of the most serious are: 
Extraction of water from unauthorized locations
Construction of unauthorized wells 
Failure to reforest zones effected by mining 

You would expect a company of such stature and importance to not be committing such environmental offences. Based on the punishments being suggested by SMA, Antofagasta is going to wish they 

did not commit such offences. The SMA said that there is a very real possibility the mine will be closed temporarily or in the worst case scenario, indefinitely. However, should closure not be the resulting 

punishment, they will at a minimum be landed with a huge financial penalty of $23.8 million. 

Not only should Antofagasta be hoping closure is not the decided punishment but the Chilean economy should be, when you consider Los Pelambres produced 375’000 tonnes of copper in the previous 

year, a shutdown of the mine would have serious ramifications on the countries overall national output of the red metal.