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Chilean MP, NGOs demand halt to Nutrex exploration project at Juncal Andean Park

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Nutrex requested Chilean authorities a deadline extension to present the required documents to start working in the area, as it had until April 16, 2024, to establish its presence on the site by setting up equipment and some infrastructure but couldn’t do so after being blocked by environmental activists.Β 

If the extension is denied, which is one of the aims of the appeal for protection, activists would have more time to build their case, as Nutrex would have to restart the whole process and this could take up to a year.Β 

β€œWe have gained some time, but we also know that they have been able to enter the park and that is, of course, a threat not only to biodiversity and a particular park but to a fundamental issue that is water in our region,” Bello told local media.

Juncal, whose heights range from 2,200 metres to more than 5,000 metres above sea level, is a private protected area owned by the Kenrick family since 1911.

The park extends for over 13,700 hectares and is located in the Aconcagua Valley, in Chile’s Fifth Region. It provides access to the Juncal Glacier and surrounding mountains and hosts several estuaries, wetlands, ice and rock glaciers, and a wide range of native and endemic species of flora and fauna. It is also the place where the Juncal River, a tributary of the Aconcagua River, is born. Both are important sources of freshwater for the region.

According to Chile’s laws, however, owners of surface rights do not own what’s underground, which is why Nutrex, an American gold and copper explorer, is allowed to request access to explore the area.Β 

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