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1 Jan 2016

BHP lawsuit (re Cerro Colorado copper mine, Chile)


Date lawsuit was filed
1 Jan 2016
Date accuracy
Year Correct
Not applicable
Indigenous peoples, Human Rights Defender
Location of Filing: Chile
Location of Incident: Chile
Type of Litigation: Domestic


BHP Australia Mining, Oil, gas & coal


Snapshot: In 2016, the San Isidro de Quipisca Indigenous Agricultural Association filed a complaint against BHP's Cerro Colorado copper mine in Chile. They are concerned about the project's water use and argued that the environmental review process had failed to consider concerns about the project's impacts on natural resources, including the regional aquifer. On 14 January 2021, Chile's Supreme Court upheld the complaint and ruled that "a routine evaluation of the mine's environmental project, including by a committee of ministers, failed to take into account warnings by locals that its operations were overdrawing water and impacting local wetlands."

Communities also filed complaints before the Environmental Court. In August 2021, the court ordered precautionary measures, including ceasing groundwater extraction for 90 days from an aquifer near the mine. The company appealed. In September 2021, the Court modified its order and allowed BHP to extract 54 litres of water per second from the aquifer for 90 days while the company prepares a new environmental assessment. In January 2022, the First Environmental Court implemented a new precautionary measure that banned BHP from extracting water from the Lagunillas aquifer for 90 days. In response, the company said it would take measures to reduce its activities.