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11 Apr 2022

Cecilia Jamasmie, Mining.com

Chile: Teck Resources faces environmental charges filed by environmental regulator SMA

See all tags Allegations

"Teck’s Quebrada Blanca mine in Chile faces environmental charges", 1 April 2022

Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A | TECK.B) (NYSE: TECK), Canada’s largest diversified miner, is facing eight charges filed by Chile’s environmental regulator SMA, which claim the miner failed to comply with measures to avoid impacts in vegetation and animals at its Quebrada Blanca copper mine.

The agency said audits carried out in 2019, 2020 and 2021 at the operation, located in Chile’s northern Tarapaca region, found the company did not follow measures outlined in its environmental permit to protect local species and control emissions.

Four of the preliminary charges are considered “serious” and they include the allegedly deficient rescue and relocation of vizcachas, rodents native to South America belonging to the chinchillas family, which have given South African bullion producer Gold Fields (TSX, NYSE: GFI) more than one headache...

This is not the first time Chile’s environmental regulator files charges against Quebrada Blanca. In 2019, similar allegations led the SMA to impose a $1.2 million fine on Teck for violations related to the handling of mining waste and internal environmental controls at the mine...

The charges come only weeks after the Vancouver-based miner announced a partnership with the Ollagüe Quechua community to develop a biodiversity conservation area for the Alconcha Salt Flat, a high-value wetland ecosystem near its Quebrada Blanca operations.

As part of the initiative, Teck transferred mining and water rights to this area, located about 30km east to the mine, back to the Chilean government, which improves water security for the surrounding communities.