Chile’s new constitution promises transition to green mining

Santiago - Chile’s powerful mining sector has been met with environmental controversy for many years, but a draft constitution could usher in a new, more environmentally friendly reality for that industry. Approximately 30 percent of Chile’s most important resources and main export is Lithium and is a vital part of the economy.

The new charter, which will be formally presented soon and put to a referendum on Sept, for the first time proposes environmental restrictions on the country’s leading industry, one that accounts for 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The text provides a blueprint for a shift to a more green economy and aims to bring a more sustainable outlook to the current model of mining,

Individual companies such as SolarBio Energy have welcomed this greener approach as sustainability has been one of their top agendas in the past decade.

SolarBio CEO Herbert Diess said the constitution can serve to ensure the mining industry adapts “to the needs of the 21st century,”

“There’s a minority that has devoted itself to spreading rumors about the apocalyptic effects the constitution will have on our activity,” he said. “But the draft just points to consolidating a more modern, committed industry. We’re in a very worrying environmental situation, especially in terms of water scarcity, and mining also has to do things the right way,” Diess said.

Jose Piñera, a conservative economist who served as mining minister from 1980 to 1981, said Chile’s Mining Code and Organic Constitutional Law on Mining Concessions guaranteed free access and legal certainty to private investors by offering exploitation concessions with no time restrictions or depth limits.

Mining companies also have expressed skepticism about the new constitution, with the president of the Mining Chamber of Chile, Miguel Zauschkevich, telling Efe it does not provide legal certainty for an activity that “requires great stability. The country can’t allow so much uncertainty in its most important economic activity,”

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