Chile: Colla indigenous communities denounce alleged environmental & social harms by Kinross’ Maricunga mine

Conflict has recently caracterised the zone of Jorquera River valley and its streams where Chilean Colla communities inhabit due to the presence of Kinross’ Maricunga mine; this led the community leaders to ask the National Commission on Indigenous peoples to provide protection to them according to their allegations in Spanish.  The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Kinross to respond.  The company responded.

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Company response
26 February 2019

Response by Kinross Gold

Author: Kinross Gold

Compañía Minera Maricunga (CMM, a subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corporation) has maintained a relationship with the Rio Jorquera Colla community (RJCC) since 1998. During most of the past 20 years the relationship has been constructive; issues which have occurred have been resolved through negotiation and dialogue. We have worked together on important community projects, organized from 2008 within a protocol agreement funded with significant resources by CMM. Projects included donation of water rights to the RJCC and sustainable community agriculture programs.

Unfortunately, since 2017 the leadership of RJCC has not only been unwilling to resolve several matters through dialogue, but has consistently not honoured agreements with CMM - even after accepting payments stipulated in these agreements, including:

- Non-compliances of agreement with the RJCC’s consultant for an ethno-cartographic study contracted by CMM. Legal action was initiated in July 2018 by CMM against RJCC’s consultant with regard to failure to deliver the contracted study despite payment in advance in June 2017.

- RJCC’s illegal blockage of CMM’s lawful access to the Rancho del Gallo camp. CMM has filed legal action against RJCC since the blockage impedes the access of CMM personnel to and from the camp and has obliged CMM to abandon the facility, which is currently unoccupied…

RJCC’s failure during five years to register easement agreements signed with CMM in 2013 and for which payment of 285 million pesos was made. In late 2018 CMM filed legal action against RJCC regarding restitution of payment made to the RJCC for permanent easement agreements which RJCC did not register. The easements include pylons for a power line and widening of the public road.

Clean-up of a release of diesel fuel from a power generation area at the Rancho del Gallo Camp. The spill occurred when a pipe valve attached to a fuel tank was opened by an unknown party, effectively draining the tank. Some of the diesel escaped containment affecting the surrounding soil and approximately 5,500 litres affected a nearby stream. After discovering the release, CMM immediately commenced actions to contain the release. CMM’s prompt action ensured that the spill had no environmental impact. The SMA (Superintendent for the Environment) has concluded that CMM took appropriate actions to address the incident. From the moment of the release, CMM has worked together with the RJCC in the coordination of the clean-up and has complied with the conditions in the agreement signed with the RJCC. 

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