On August 3, 2012, the project “Puerto Cruz Grande” was submitted to the Environmental Impact Assessment System located in the Higuera Commune, Coquimbo Region. This consists of the construction and operation of a mining port, with capacity to handle bulk carriers up to 300,000 DWR. A berthing site is planned along with the necessary facilities to provide the reception, collection, storage and shipment services of reception, storage for 13.5 million tons of bulk minerals per year.
The Movement in Defense of the Environment (Modema), jointly presented 11 observations to the EIA. All were cataloged as relevant in reference to environmental aspects of the port project.
Despite this, the Evaluation Committee of the Coquimbo Region qualified the project as environmentally friendly.
In March 2015, together with the Oceana organization, Modema filed a joint complaint claiming that the effects of the project on the ecosystem protecting the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve and on the human environment in its area were not considered. Also not considered was the socioeconomic dimension on the fishing activities in the bay of Los Choros by the extraction industry project.
The Committee of Ministers resolved to partially accept the complaint, and what it partially resolved was that the legality of the process was violated.
Geute Conservación Sur, together with Modema and Oceana, filed a complaint before the Environmental Court because of the lack of consideration of citizen observations, which violates regulations and purposes of the Environmental Impact Assessment System; to which the Committee of Minister exceeded its powers and that the Committee of Ministers failed to fulfill the duty of the State, to safeguard the preservation of nature.
The judgment dated May 31, 2017, rejected the claim filed in all its parts. Given this situation, Oceana submitted an Appeal in Cassation on the Merits before the Supreme Court which was dismissed on April 9, 2018 (Case No. 34.281-2017).
With this, after 6 years of proceedings, the project gets a green light when it comes to environmental permits.