translated from Spanish: Environmental Court welcomes indigenous communities claim against approval of SQM mining project in Atacama salt flat

Following the judicial offensive of indigenous communities of San Pedro de Atacama against the approval of the plan submitted by SQM to the Superintendency of the Environment (SMA) to extract lithium from the salt flat sac, the Pr Imer Environmental Tribunal of Antofagasta unanimously accepted the request, which renders the SMA’s decision in approving the mining project.
According to the Court, one of the points for which the complaint was accepted was «the condition of fragility presented by the Salar de Atacama from an ecosystem point of view» and the «status of legal protection of the territory», which is located within the Area of Development Atacama La Grande Indigenous, where the communities of the Licanantay people have lived for several generations.
«The decision taken was taken in aclight with the precautionary environmental principle, as it has not been established by the company in the process that the actions and goals taken are capable of containing and reducing or eliminating the negative effects generated by the breach of the company on three of the six charges brought by The SMA,» explained the President of the Court, Mauricio Oviedo,
After the ruling, the SMA must resume the sanctioning process against SQM, a company that could suffer the closure of its operations, the revocation of its environmental permit or fines for over the 5000 Annual Tax Units (UTA).

Original source in Spanish

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