Chile Coal Mine Project – Shelved!

Community members in Isla Riesco, Chile, oppose the Mina Invierno coal mining project. PHOTO: Gregor Stipicic.

The remote island of Isla Riesco in southern Chile is the site of a controversial coal mine – Mina Invierno or “winter mine.” Coal is extracted here mechanically, but operators sought permission to start using explosives to blast for coal. Last week, the Valdivia Environmental Court canceled the license for the proposed blasting.

Isla Riesco, Chile. PHOTOS: Gregor Stipicic

ELAW staff scientists and attorneys worked closely with partners at Fiscalía del Medio Ambiente (FIMA) to challenge the project.
Coal is a dirty, outdated fuel and a major source of greenhouse gases. ELAW Staff Scientists Dr. Mark Chernaik and Dr. Meche Lu estimated that Mina Invierno would emit 133,400 tons/year of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2eq).

Isla Riesco, Chile. PHOTOS: Gregor Stipicic

ELAW staff submitted an Amicus Curiae brief supporting FIMA’s arguments that climate impacts must be analyzed in the environmental impact statement (EIS), citing domestic and international court decisions from around the world.
Mina Invierno has a troubled history. In its six years of operation, the mine allegedly damaged a Kawéskar archeological site and polluted local surface water.
The environmental license for the proposed mining project was cancelled by the Valdivia Environmental Court due to a lack of essential information in the EIS about fossils and the potential impacts of blasting on these cultural assets.
Congratulations to our partners at FIMA for this big win against the coal menace!

For more information (in Spanish), see:

El Desconcierto, August 21, 2019
Tribunal Ambiental de Valdivia anuló el permiso de tronaduras de Mina Invierno en Magallanes1/