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10 Jan 2022

Natalia Ramos & Peter Frontini, Reuters

Chile: BHP to adapt copper mine after court ruling on water usage

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"BHP to adapt Chile copper mine after court ruling on water usage", 5 January 2022

BHP said it will adapt its Cerro Colorado copper mine in Chile to lessen the impact of a recent court ruling that prevents it from drawing water for its operations, while it waits for the decision to be reconsidered.

BHP said last week it had approval from a committee to keep operating the mine, whose environmental licence runs until the end of 2023, but it was still awaiting a decision from the First Environmental Court of Chile's northern city of Antofagasta.

On Friday, BHP (BHPB.L) said that the court had decided to issue a new measure prohibiting it from extracting water from the Lagunillas aquifer for an additional 90 days, or until it determines that there is no risk of damage at Cerro Colorado, which produced 68,900 tons of copper in 2020.

"Cerro Colorado recognizes that the new measure will have an impact on operations and on its entire value chain," BHP said in a statement on Tuesday, adding it would adapt its operations...

"... The final decisions are expected to be evaluated in the coming days in light of new information available," it added.