SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile’s constitutional assembly on Saturday approved articles extending environmental rights, but failed to approve a proposal to give the state exclusive mining rights over lithium, hydrocarbons and rare earth metals. the majority ownership of the copper mines.
Chile is the world’s largest producer of copper and the article faced strong opposition from the country’s mining industry. He needed a 103-vote super-majority to be included in the draft constitution, but only got 66.
The article now returns to the Environment Committee, where it will be renegotiated before facing a second vote.
Another article was approved stating that mining regulations will take into account environmental protections and the finite and non-renewable nature of mining resources, which will be stated in the draft constitution that voters will decide to approve or reject on 4 September.
In a statement released earlier this week, the Institute of Mining Engineers objected to the article, saying that “temporary authorizations, which do not grant property, generate a kind of potential arbitrariness,” which could force companies to choose other countries due to the high level of mining. investment costs.
Political cartoons about world leaders
The assembly also approved articles that reshape water governance to focus on water availability and expand water protection in indigenous territories. The assembly approved extending protections to wetlands, native forests and land essential for the water cycle.
The pre-vote debate bounced between the potential economic impact of the most extreme mining proposals and the human impact of climate change, pollution and environmental damage caused by extractive activities such as mining and logging. .
The constitutional assembly voted against the set of proposals from the environmental commission, but on Saturday approved them and began voting on them individually.
Articles that receive less than two-thirds of the super-majority, but more than a quarter of the votes, will return to the committee and get a second vote in the assembly.
(Report by Alexander Villegas and Natalia Ramos; Editing by David Gregorio)
Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.