Noranda halts environmental evaluation of Alumysa
January 17, 2003
The Canadian mining company Noranda Inc. requested
that Region XI's Regional Environmental Commission (Corema) delay the evaluation
of the Alumysa aluminium project's Environmental Impact Study (EIS) until
November this year.
"Noranda's request aims to give the
company more time to prepare their answers to observations and amendments
made by several public and private organizations on the project's EIS,"
Corema explained. This is a new delay in the development of the US$2.7
billion project, which includes the construction of an aluminum processing
plant, three hydroelectric plants, a port in Chacabuco Bay, an industrial
landfill, the construction of a 94 kilometer road and 79 kilometers of
electricity lines. The complex should produce an average of 440,000 tons
of aluminum per year.
Last week, Region XI' Corema asked Noranda to
submit new information on the Project before approving or rejecting the
This is the second time Noranda has asked for
an extension of the deadline of Corema's decision. The project remained
halted between December 2001 and October 2002, as the company requested
more time to respond to observations and amendments included in the first
report on the project.
The Alumysa project was originally presented by
Noranda eight years ago, but strong opposition from environmental groups
and salmon producers has delayed its development. Of all the initiatives
included in the project, the most controversial one is the construction
of the aluminum plant. Salmon producers in Southern Chile's Region XI have
said an aluminum plant residues will hurt the salmon producing activity.
The president of the Salmon and Trout Producers
Association (SalmonChile), Victor Hugo Pucci, said if the project is approved,
all salmon companies with processing plants and growing centers in Region
XI will leave the area. "I have no doubt that 100 percent of the companies
will leave the area... The aluminum plant will be incompatible with the
development of the salmon industry," he said.
If the project is approved by Corema, the company
said, Noranda will start looking for a possible partner to finance the
huge investment necessary for developing the project. The company estimates
the construction of the Alumysa project should take between four and five
years, generating close to 1,000 job positions every month.
Source: El Diario By Victor Henriquez
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