Antofagasta chief says Pelambres copper mine in Chile may close
SANTIAGO, March 15 (Reuters) - Copper miner Antofagasta Plc cannot guarantee that its the embattled Los Pelambres mine in Chile will continue to operate, company President Diego Hernandez said in an interview published by local newspaper La Tercera on Sunday.
Los Pelambres was hit this month by a court ruling in favor of protesters who say the mine is affecting water availability. The mine, located in northern Chile, produced around 405,000 tonnes of copper last year.
"We cannot guarantee that it will not close, in light of what's been happening," Hernandez told La Tercera.
The company is appealing the ruling.
Local communities have blamed Los Pelambres for water shortages and said they wanted a desalination plant built.
Chile has a long history of struggles between mines and local communities over scarce water supplies, but such disputes have increased in intensity in recent months as an eight-year long drought in the country has worsened. (Reporting by Fabian Andres Cambero Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Alison Williams)
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