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Chile: The Presidential election and the Dominga project

From IKN443, last Sunday:



Chile: The Presidential election and the Dominga project

Two things from Chile that are extremely unlikely
to be coincidental. Next Sunday November 19th sees the first round
of the Chilean Presidential election and the final set of voter polling shows
ex-President Sebastian Piñera still way out in front with 45% (12). If it works
out that way it won’t be enough to get him the win in round one, but it’s more
of a case of him putting the champagne on ice until the run-off vote December
19th than anything else (and by most reports (13) he was the winner
of last night’s final candidate debate on live TV, too).

The second matter is that of
Dominga, the U$2.5Bn iron ore project located near the coast in the centre of
the country owned by Chinese private capital company Andes Iron which had its
EIA permit denied in August this year due to it adversely affecting a colony of
Humboldt penguins nearby. At the time of the denial it was considered a win for
the environmentalists (it’s always been a controversial project) and a loss for
the Chilean mining world and it was, of course, all under the centre-left
government of the outgoing Michelle Bachelet. As reported on these pages at the
time, Bachelet saw her Finance Minister resign due to the decision (made at
cabinet level, but now this weekend we hear that (14) (translated), “Experts
Indicate That Environmental Evaluation of Dominga Has Still Not Finished”, that
the company has the right to lodge an appeal and the decision if necessary will
go to the Supreme Court. Etc etc.

In so many words, the upcoming
right wing government will green light this project and the left in Chile
will have something to complain about. We should at least ask the Humboldt
penguins (for what it’s worth, native to the Chile and Peru coasts and listed
as a vulnerable species rather than endangered)if they’d like to move house
before it starts, though.

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