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Glencore’s Lomas Bayas transfers water rights to Chilean farming community

Glencore’s (LON: GLEN) Minera Lomas Bayas in Chile signed an agreement – deemed as ‘historic’ by the company – with the Calama Farmers Association (ASAC) transferring water rights on the Loa River and also the land corresponding to Plot 12 in the Progreso Campesino area.

Through a dialogue process that started in August 2022, the company and ASAC members negotiated the deal following the approval of a series of initiatives aimed at the conservation of the Calama Oasis, located in the northern Antofagasta region.

The Loa River is a U-shaped river that extends for 440 kilometres. It is Chile’s longest river and the main watercourse in the Atacama Desert.

“This is a historic milestone that reflects our commitment to sustainable development,” Pablo Carvallo, general manager of Minera Lomas Bayas, said in a statement made public on social media. “Our goal is to increase the efficiency and innovation of our production processes, responsibly and in harmony with communities and the environment. With this agreement, we hope to improve the living conditions in the Calama Oasis and contribute to the preservation of vital ecosystems in our areas of influence.”

Carvallo pointed out that the decision to renounce the water rights implies that the company is working on deploying environmentally friendlier alternatives that support the sustainable development of the land it shares with ASAC.

The executive also said that in the next three years, Glencore’s subsidiary will focus on using treated wastewater to fulfill its water needs.

Lomas Bayas is a low-grade, open-pit operation where oxidized minerals are extracted and processed in a solvent-leaching and electrowinning plant. Its average annual production is 72,700 tonnes of high-purity copper cathodes.

Given the conditions of its productivity, Lomas Bayas has started concentrating on mining innovation and sustainability initiatives.

Late in 2023, its Lomas Lab introduced a full set of autonomous haul trucks – the first of their kind in Glencore’s global operations – fostering what the firm calls “mining 4.0,” which is powered by digital and autonomous technologies.

The trucks are expected to decrease fuel consumption by up to 4%, run for longer hours and decrease the frequency of safety incidents. If this pilot succeeds, Glencore plans to make the entire Lomas Bayas 27-truck fleet autonomous by 2025. 

Source: MINING.COM – Read More