Authorities from the Andacollo district in northern Chile's region IV have submitted an appeal before the environment ministry's (MMA) regional evaluation service aimed at reversing the recent approval of Corpsa's environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a US$6.5mn gold recovery plant.
The authorities claim that the plant will be built in one of the last green areas in Andacollo and will have a serious environmental impact, Andacollo mayor Juan Carlos Alfaro - who is leading the appeal process.
Small and mid-sized mining operations, mainly gold focused, have been developed in Andacollo close to inhabited zones for many years and local authorities claim that they have caused widespread pollution and health problems in the area.
The pollution is mainly because numerous mining sites, processing facilities and tailings dams that used to operate have been abandoned, Alfaro said.
Corpsa will use a gravitational plant to process gold that will not involve chemicals. However, authorities believe the environmental impact will be negative anyway, according to Alfaro.
The plant aims at processing 800t/d for the production of 336t/m of gold, silver and copper concentrate. The company will acquire the ore to be processed from small miners in the area and output will be sold to state minerals company Enami.
Corpsa plans to start works immediately and take 18 months to complete. The plant will have a lifespan of seven years.
It was the company's third attempt to move forward with the project as two previous EIAs were rejected by the evaluation service.
Corpsa was formed at the beginning of 2010 by Russian and Chilean investors.