SANTIAGO Oct 14 Chile's Antofagasta Minerals
on Friday took issue with charges brought by the
government accusing its Los Pelambres copper mine of violating
environmental regulations and said the company will present a
legal defense in the coming days.
The company said there were factual errors in the charges
brought on Thursday by the SMA environmental regulatory agency
accusing Antofagasta Minerals of mismanaging water resources and
nearby plant life, but did not elaborate.
"Although we have not been informed (of the charges) in an
official manner, in many of the areas mentioned by the SMA press
release there has been work ongoing for months, even years, to
search alongside official bodies for ways to guarantee total
compliance with environmental regulations," Francisco Veloso,
the mine's chairman, said in a statement.
The punishment for the nine alleged infractions could be a
fine of up to $23.8 million, or even the temporary or permanent
closure of the mine, though the latter options are unlikely.
While the company did not give a specific date for
presenting its defense, its legal deadline is 15 days after its
Antofagasta's London-listed shares were down 3.6 percent on
the day as of 1711 London time (1611 GMT).
The Los Pelambres mine, located in Chile's north-central
Coquimbo region, produced 375,800 tonnes of copper in 2015.
(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Will Dunham)