The Tribunal ordered the total and definitive Pascua Lama's closure as it imposed US$9 million fine on Barrick Gold, which is the world's largest gold mining company.
Pascua Lama was at an altitude of 4,500 meters in the Huasco Valley, in the Atacama region, which borders Argentina. From the beginning, the local inhabitants rejected the project and their claim became stronger after the mining labors contaminated their waterways.
"The project will be shut down permanently because of the danger it poses to people's health and the damage it causes to the environment," the Court stated.
��️ The mining company wants to install a desalination plant in Quintero. Greenpeace argues that the city would not be able to sustain the plant, as it is already in a “sacrifice zone” because they face water scarcity and the plant requires fresh water for its activities.#Quinteropic.twitter.com/gcIlhTGcPz
Barrick Gold's project violated 33 environmental standards. Besides affecting wildlife species, it discharged acidic water into a river that supplied Diaguita communities.
"This is a great victory for Chile's Indigenous communities after many years of legal struggle," environmental activist Sam Varvastian tweeted.
The Canadian company wanted to make Pascua Lama the largest gold and silver deposit in the world. After an US$8 billion investment, the firm intended to produce 615,000 ounces of gold and 18.2 million ounces of silver.
In 2013, the project was temporarily suspended after the Tribunal considered that Barrick Gold was not making enough efforts to safeguard the waterways surrounding Pascua Lama.