Chile in the crosshairs of a Canadian resource rush

The Breach

As Chile drafts a new constitution, will Canadian companies still cash in on a mining boom driven by demand for renewable energy?

Written by Naomi Larsson | THE BREACH 

They say it was the country’s first village to taste freedom. Nestled beside the Andes mountains in a rich, fertile valley in Chile’s central region, Putaendo was the first place revolutionary leader Bernardo O’Higgins and his army passed through on their path to liberate Chile from Spanish rule more than 200 years ago.

But not everyone in the village feels free today. For seven years now, residents have been fighting the development of a major copper mine in the valley that they say would irreversibly damage the environment and their community.

Last year, Vancouver’s Los Andes Copper—one of 40 Canadian mining companies now operating in Chile—was given the green light to perforate hundreds of drill holes in the Putaendo mountain range. Thirty members of the community joined local activist group Putaendo Resiste in filing a judicial appeal to fight the project. 

“We will not be a sacrifice zone. It’s not only about the availability of water, but also the potential contamination, the destruction of our mountains, the destruction of the environment, the destruction of flora and fauna that only exists in this area,” Alejandro Valdés from Putaendo Resiste told The Breach by phone.

But Valdés is hopeful. Rarely does a country get a chance to rewrite the very fabric of its national values, and rarer still is the environment a priority. 

... Read the full article at The Breach.