SANTIAGO, March 8 (Reuters) - Chile’s environmental regulator pressed charges against Sierra Gorda, jointly owned by Poland’s KGHM Polska Miedz and Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining, saying the copper mine could face a $29 million fine and have its license revoked.
The SMA regulator said on Tuesday that Sierra Gorda committed seven “serious” and two “mild” environmental infractions.
Those infractions include not implementing measures to control emissions, altering the natural habitat for native wildlife, and operating a tailings dam in an unauthorized manner.
Sierra Gorda has 10 days to present a compliance plan to the SMA or 15 days to present a legal defense.
Representatives for Sierra Gorda were not immediately available for comment.
The head of the SMA has said that mining companies and others investing in Chile can expect increased scrutiny and sanctions if they break environmental rules, as the regulator is being allocated more resources and more inspectors.
$1 = 682.3000 Chilean pesos Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Andrew Hay