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Chile: Concerns around social & environmental impacts over Rockwood Lithium operations (acquired by Albemarle)

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Company response
17 September 2019

Albemarle's response

Author: Albemarle

...we feel obliged to report that the data, values, background and comments exhibited by the review "Minería de lithium en el Salar de Atacama, Chile", EJOLT Atlas, 2017, lack, to a large extent content, rigour and, in some cases, veracity...

In Chile, we directly employ more than 700 people, and more than 4,000 indirect jobs exist as a result of our operations...Nearly 40% of our employees in the Salar de Atacama are from the indigenous communities bordering the salt flats...We also have a relationship of trust and respect with the communities of the Salar de Atacama basin...An example of this are the historic and unique Cooperation, Sustainability and Mutual Benefit agreements that we signed in 2012 with the Atacameña Community of Peine and 2016 with the Council of Atacameños People (CPA) and with each of the 18 indigenous communities of the Salar of Atacama...We have permanent monthly meetings with all the communities of the Salar...

...The article published in this platform refers to the filing of the project "Modifications and Improvement of the Solar Evaporation Well System in the Salar de Atacama", which was presented in 2009 and which the company subsequently improved...the Project...was unanimously approved by the Environmental Assessment Commission of the Antofagasta (CEA) on Monday 18 January 2016...It should be noted that the lithium production process carried out by Albemarle in the Salar of Atacama does not require fresh water...

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Company response
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26 August 2019

Respuesta de Albemarle

Author: Albemarle

...Tenemos...una relación de confianza y respeto con las comunidades indígenas de la cuenca del Salar de Atacama que se ha ido construyendo desde hace décadas. Ejemplo de ello son los históricos e inéditos acuerdos de Cooperación, Sustentabilidad y Beneficio Mutuo que firmamos en el año 2012 con la Comunidad Atacameña de Peine y el 2016 con el Consejo de Pueblos Atacameños y con cada una de las 18 comunidades indígenas del Salar de Atacama. Más del 70% de estos acuerdos están relacionados con la promoción de la sustentabilidad del Salar de Atacama...

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Article
2 September 2009

Chile: Overview of concerns around social & environmental impacts re lithium extraction in Salar de Atacama

Author: Environmental Justice Atlas

Environmental Impacts Visible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming
Health Impacts Visible: Other Health impacts
Potential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Other Health impacts Problemas a la salud relacionados a la falta de agua
Socio-economical Impacts Visible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Land dispossession

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Article
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Author: EJ Atlas

Las comunidades atacameñas y habitantes de la zona se oponen al proyecto por antelar que el impacto de explotar una de las principales reservas hídricas en una zona de alta esceses de agua es totalmente irracional e incompatible con el desarrollo agrícola y de prácticas ancestrales indígenas que han desarrollado las comunidades atacameñas desde tiempos inmemoriables...Un ecosistema tan frágil y único como el Salar de Atacama hoy se encuentra en peligro inminente ante las operaciones de extración de litio, que amenazan con profundizar la crisis hídrica de la zona y dejar sin agua a la población atacameña y la fauna endémica que habita y da vida a este paraje maravilloso y único...

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