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Goldman Sachs to create nature reserve in South Chile

December 13, 2003

SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Investment bank Goldman Sachs said on Friday it would create a nature reserve in Tierra del Fuego in southern Chile in a stretch of rare forest acquired from a U.S. forestry company which had planned to harvest the timber.
Goldman Sachs obtained the land after purchasing defaulted bonds of the U.S.-based real estate and forestry firm Trillium Corporation.
The bank decided over the last week to transfer the land to its charitable fund which will work with conservation organizations in 2004 to manage the reserve.
"This was a corporate decision taken at the highest level. ... We weighed up our options and decided that protecting this ecological jewel was the socially responsible thing to do," Peter Rose, director of media relations for Goldman Sachs told Reuters by telephone from southern Chile.
The 680,000 acres of lenga forest, which is similar to beech, is on Tierra del Fuego island, which Chile shares with Argentina. Lenga is found only in southern Chile and Argentina and is considered of significant ecological importance.
Trillium met legal opposition from environmental groups when it obtained approval in 1994 from Chile's foreign investment committee to cut the trees to make wood chips and other wood products in a $200 million project.
While the company won several legal cases, it was faced with more legal battles and suspended the project in 2000.
Rose said Goldman Sachs would set up a Chilean foundation and choose an environmental organization to manage the reserve by the end of 2004.
"This is essentially a gift to the Chilean people," Rose said.
Environmentalists celebrated another victory in Chile this week when the government agreed to create a nature reserve out of a huge tract of land in southern Chile owned by millionaire U.S. businessman Douglas Tompkins.


Defensores del Bosque Chileno
Diagonal Oriente 1413- Ñuñoa
Santiago de Chile
Tel. 56.2.2041914 Fax 56.2.2092527


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