Unanimously, the Committee of Ministers – a body chaired by the Minister of the Environment, Maisa Rojas – rejected the controversial Port of Dominga mining projectseeking to settle in the Coquimbo region.
The Committee of Ministers – made up of Minister Rojas, the Minister of Health, Ximena Aguilera; the Minister of Economy, Nicolás Grau; the Minister of Agriculture, Esteban Valenzuela; the Minister of Energy, Diego Pardow; and the Minister of Mines, Marcela Hernando – unanimously accepted the 12 complaints, for which a negative report was issued, as explained by Minister Rojas leaving the commission.
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It should be noted that in the midst of President Gabriel Boric’s presidential campaign, the then candidate for Approved Dignity publicly rejected Dominga’s inauguration, because he stated that “we want development with environmental sustainability and community participation. No to Dominga!”. the environmental issue became one of the main axes of his campaign which eventually led him to the Palacio de La Moneda.
Along the same lines, Minister Rojas, when he was part of the NGO Oceana, publicly issued sentences against the initiative, for which a section of the artisanal fishermen’s union in favor of Dominga appealed to the Comptroller’s Office asking for his exclusion from the initiative .vote.
Some authorities, such as the mayor of La Higuera, Yerko Galleguillos, have declared themselves in favor of this initiative, arguing that it will benefit the population. “People talk about the extinction of the penguin and the Humboldt duck, but I talk about the extinction of my neighbors, who don’t have a job,” he said in a conversation with radio on Wednesday DNA. In this sense, he questioned the arguments against Dominga’s mining project: “When will we talk about man and stop talking about little fish and birds?”
In any case, Dominga’s refusal will not end in this case, since whatever the outcome, one of the two parties will not be happy with the resolution (either Andes Iron or the environmental associations) and will take it first to the Environmental Court. They will have 30 days to appeal this decision. There, whatever the sentence, you can appeal (or get married) before the Supreme Court, which will have the final verdict, as happened in 2017.
They are asking to approve a marine protected area
After the rejection of the Dominga project, communities and environmental organizations have asked the government for prompt approval of the marine protected area for the Humboldt Archipelago.
“It has been more than 15 years of life under threat, first with the almost installation of three coal-fired thermoelectric plants, then the port of Cruz Grande and now Dominga, we are already tired and we must live peacefully knowing that we are protected by high impact industries who wanted to operate in our territory,” said Lucía Ossandón Vergara, president of the Indigenous Community of Changa Juana Vergara and Family.
“We want this company to leave our territory once and for all, it has already caused too much damage, we want to continue with our sustainable work and continue to be the leaders in the production of artisanal fishing in north-central Chile,” added Gabriel Molina. , representative of the Los Choros Fishermen and Shellfish Association.
The rejection delivered by the ministers and ministers was based on the technical reports prepared by the agencies with environmental competence, which warned of the serious shortcomings of the project and justified the reasons why Dominga is incompatible with the ecosystems of the Humboldt Archipelago and with the economic activities that develop successfully in the area, such as tourism and artisanal fishing.
“It is good that the Committee of Ministers did not get carried away by the pressures that the company was trying to introduce and stuck to the technical and scientific background which shows that this project has been evaluated very badly and should never have been approved” , he has declared. said Antonia Berríos, FIMA lawyer and representative of the Association of Fishermen and Shellfish Collectors of Los Choros.
“It is the correct decision from an environmental point of view, from the duty of the Chilean state to protect nature, from respect for environmental institutions and also from a legal point of view, we hope that Andes Iron respects the decision,” added the lawyer Alejandra Donoso , Director of Environmental Defense and representative of the Movement in Defense of the Environment of La Higuera.