SANTIAGO, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Chile’s environmental regulator said on Tuesday it has approved a $19.1 million mitigation plan presented by KGHM’s Sierra Gorda copper mine, after it found nine infractions at the operation.
In March, the SMA environmental regulator pressed charges against Sierra Gorda, saying the copper mine could be fined up to $29 million and have its license revoked, for committing seven “serious” and two “mild” environmental infractions.
“The mine, located in the Antofagasta region, admitted to the infractions and will now implement a plan that includes environmental improvements for $19.1 million,” the SMA said in a statement.
According to the approved plan, the mine will need to implement rain water canals, pave certain roads and be limited to shipping copper concentrate via the ports in the Antofagasta region in northern Chile, among other measures.
Poland’s KGHM Polska Miedz owns a 55 percent stake in Sierra Gorda, with the rest held by Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corp.
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. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Matthew Lewis)