Environment & Energy Report

Top Copper Nation Gets Tough on Water With BHP in Crosshairs (1)

Aug. 2, 2020, 1:37 AM

Authorities in Chile are cracking down on water use by mines in the driest desert on earth, threatening future supply in the top copper-producing nation.

On Friday, Chile’s environmental agency SMA charged BHP Group’s Escondida for allegedly drawing more water than allowed for almost 15 years in a move that could result in the loss of its permit, closure or a fine. Just to the south, state-owned Codelco has suspended a planned expansion of its Salvador mine until it can resolve a suit filed by the State Defense Council against the project’s proposed use of water.

Mines that dot the...

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