Photo by Antofagasta Minerals

In a ruling on September 5th, Chile’s Supreme Court threw out an appeal by Antofagasta Minerals (AMSA) against the Ministry of National Assets’ refusal to renew mining easements and Surface access rights to its Tortolas project, located 60km NE of Taltal in Region II AMSA, the mining arm of Antofagasta plc (LON: ANTO), believes the deposit could one day be a major nitrates mine but its plans for the deposit have clashed with those of the government on whose land the project lies.

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In July 2013, the Ministries of Energy and National Assets renewed a collaboration in which they agreed to undertake a series of actions to promote the development of renewable energy.

This included the creation of a “wind reserve” on state land especially allotted for the development of wind farms. The 287,393h zone is equivalent to 2% of the surface area of Region II, the heart of Chile’s mining industry.

The reserve is already home to one wind-farm – ENEL Greenpower’s 99MW Taltal project – but ministers want to see many more turbines installed on the property.

According to Energy Minister Andres Rebolledo, the zone could support wind farms with 500MW of installed capacity, equivalent to almost half of Chile’s existing wind energy capacity.

In November, the government launched an international tender to identify investors interested in developing windfarms on the reserve. But to ensure the land is available, the government has sought to block other forms of development in the area. Hence the refusal to renew the easements to AMSAs Tortolas project.

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