Mining companies seek input into Chile’s new constitution

June 21, 2021

The Mining Council, a group in a Chile that unites and represents large mining firms in Chile such as Anglo American, Antofagasta, Barrick and BHP has drafted a document outlining how those companies would like to progress under the new constitution that is being drafted there.

The re-writing of the constitution is the result of a broad political consensus agreed to after the violent social protests that broke out at the end of 2019 over inequality in a nation known for its decades-long embrace of free market policies. An assembly of 155 members was formed to draft a new constitution for the country. On June 20, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said the assembly to draft a new constitution for the copper-producing country, replacing the one inherited from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, will hold its first session on July 4.

Chile is the world’s copper-producing nation and the mining firms working there will try to preserve growth of the sector, an industry leader told local media.

Reuters reported that Joaquin Villarino, head of the Mining Council told local newspaper El Mercurio that it had written a document outlining how the companies would like to operate under the new constitution.

“There are some things that should be kept because they have been positive and have contributed to this country achieving levels of development that no other country in Latin America has,” Villarino was quoted as saying in the newspaper story.

“It seems to us it would be a mistake to blur the things that have been positive,” he said.

The document drawn up by the council addresses environmental regulations, which have been much debated in Chile, and the form in which mining companies interact with indigenous populations and the local towns where mines are located.

The initiative by the council comes at a time of historically high copper prices and as the copper and lithium mining industries are the focus of a nationwide debate on sales royalties.



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