By Fabian Cambero
SANTIAGO (Reuters) -Chile's environmental regulator said on Tuesday that it had filed charges against Canadian miner Lundin's Candelaria copper mine for breaches in its operational permits, including violations related to its blasting operations.
The Andean country's environmental regulator, SMA, said it had received a number of complaints from local residents and that it expected the mining company to address those complaints along with its own demands in a compliance plan.
It said that one serious charge related to the fact that more explosives than had been authorized in an original environmental plan were being used at Candelaria, resulting in an increase in atmospheric emissions that could potentially cause health problems for local residents.
Another serious charge, the SMA said, related to the company's failure to comply with a 2018 agreement to reduce the water consumption of its treatment plant, amid a long-running drought in the region.
The mining company said in a statement that it was analyzing the charges to determine its next steps.
"Minera Candelaria always complies with current legislation, with the applicable environmental and sector authorizations, and reiterates its unbridled commitment to the development of responsible mining," it said.
The mining firm is currently looking to extend the useful life of Candelaria until 2030. The mine, which is located in the north of Chile, produced some 94,800 tonnes of copper in 2020.
The company has 10 days to present a compliance plan or 15 days to challenge the charges.
(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Sandra Maler)