SANTIAGO Nov 22 A Chilean appeals court has
preventively frozen Goldcorp's El Morro copper and gold
mine while it weighs an appeal by indigenous communities, in a
fresh setback for the troubled project.
The roughly $3.9 billion mine had been given the green light
last month, after Chile's Supreme Court froze its environmental
permit last year until the company fully consulted the local
The Diaguita say the consultation, based on an International
Labor Organization convention, was not properly conducted. They
also say the mine is planned on what they deem their sacred
ancestral land and fear it could pollute a local river.
El Morro, 70 percent owned by Goldcorp and 30 percent by New
Gold, had been due to begin operations in 2017.
Goldcorp did not immediately reply to request for comment.
The company said in October that it "will now carefully
consider the most appropriate next steps it will take to develop
the El Morro project, with the aim of satisfying the long-term
needs of all interested parties."
El Morro is one of several mining and power projects that
have suffered setbacks in Chile, the world's No. 1 copper
producer, where environmental and indigenous groups are
increasingly taking their complaints to court.
One of the most emblematic cases is the Pascua-Lama mine of
fellow Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp's. The mine
straddles the border with Argentina and is close to where El
Morro is planned. Barrick said last month it was shelving the
controversial gold project indefinitely.