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19 Okt 2017

Radio Sweden

Lawsuit against Boliden over export of toxic waste to Chile & its health impact on Arica residents starts in Sweden

"Swedish mining company Boliden in court over toxic waste in Chile", 17 Oct 2017

In 1984 and 1985, 20,000 tons of toxic waste from Boliden's smelting factory in Skellefteå, in northern Sweden, was shipped to Chile and the town of Arica. Boliden paid SEK 10 million to the Chilean company Promel, which said that they would extract arsenic and gold ore from the waste. But in reality, the waste was left open in a big black pile close to a residential area. For years, the children were even playing on the pile, which contained large amounts of arsenic and lead.

In the 1990s it emerged that many people in Arica became seriously ill, suffering from cancer, chronic coughing, and aching joints.

Some have already received compensation through Chilean lawsuits, which looked at the responsibility of Chilean authorities as well as the company Promel. (Promel went bust a few years after the deal with Boliden.)

Now, a district court in Skellefteå will rule on whether Boliden also had a responsibility for the 796 people who have jointly sued the company for SEK 100 million in damages...

Boliden claims they followed all the laws and rules that were in place at the time, and that Swedish as well as Chilean authorities knew about the export...[It] says any damages should be paid by the Chilean authorities, which allowed a residential area close to the waste, as well as Promel, which was responsible for taking care of the waste, but did not do it.