Anglo American, a London-based mining company, could possibly halt its Los Bronces mining project if environmental studies reveal that such a project can harm nearby glaciers.
According to reports, the mining company will file for environmental approval to increase production at the Los Bronces mine. According to Henni Faul, head of the copper business, the data they have gathered prove that mining in the area won’t do any harm to nearby glaciers and the surrounding groundwater. He added that if there are any possible indications, then they wouldn’t push through with the project.
The said project is part of the mining company’s plan of expanding its portfolio through organic means. The company has started with the construction of the Quellaveco mine in Peru back in 2018.
Meanwhile, copper production in the Los Bronces mine will start to decline within the next five years as ore grades start decreasing. The site, which has been subject to mining for more than a century, can increase its annual production to 400,000 tons from 369,500 last year by using new technology and efficient mining methods without causing any impact to the glaciers nearby.
Faul said that they’ve been on this plan for six years, and such scientific input is something they put their trust on.
Around 80% of the entire glaciers in South America are found in Chile, taking up 3% of the country’s total land area. However, continuous mining activity, along with the rising temperatures brought on by climate change, caused the Andean glaciers to quickly melt, according to Francisco Ferrando.
According to Faul, it might take three years to obtain the permit required for the mining project along with the environmental license. Meanwhile, project development will take around four to five years. Lots of things might happen during that period, especially when Chile’s Congress discuss glacier protection and the effects of mining activity.