UPDATE 1-Chilean court orders 2nd copper warehouse to suspend work

lunes 16 de marzo de 2015 16:01 GYT
 

(Adds details on case, KGHM comments)

SANTIAGO, March 16 (Reuters) - A Chilean court has ordered port operator Antofagasta Terminal Internacional to temporarily suspend operations at a second copper stockpiling warehouse after high levels of heavy metals were found nearby, a move that could impact copper exports from the world's No. 1 producer.

The environmental court had already asked the port operator last week to suspend activities at another stockpiling warehouse for 30 days because of potential health risks from particles detected in the atmosphere in the surrounding city of Antofagasta.

"We received authorization to suspend (the warehouse) Friday evening, and today (Monday) we will notify the company," Chile's environmental regulatory agency told Reuters.

The court ordered both warehouses shut for an initial 30 days, which could be extended.

Local residents campaigning against the warehouses say they want them shut as part of a string of disputes between the mining industry, crucial to Chile's economy, and communities that claim their environment is being polluted.

The warehouses are used by small producers and the Sierra Gorda copper mine, which is co-owned by Europe's No.2 copper producer KGHM and Japan's Sumitomo.

Shipments from Sierra Gorda were not impacted by the suspension, KGHM said.

"For the time being we are carrying out the shipping through a different port," KGHM's press office said.   Continuación...