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11/14/17

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.