The journey of the families in the Alto Mañihuales sector has been long, specifically those who live in the vicinity of where the El Toqui mine - owned by the Laguna Gold mining company - is installed. Those who have fought a tough battle to achieve the closure of the tailings that was generating great environmental pollution in the sector, which affected the neighbors and animals.
In this context and after complaints from neighbors, two years ago a tripartite working table began to be developed, between neighbors, the government and the company. Instance with which it was sought to end the main source of contamination, the Confluencia Tailings.
A tough battle that, as explained by the governor of Coyhaique, Cristián López, is coming to an end today, because Sernageomín (Geology and Mining Service) has already issued the resolution by which the closure of this mining waste collection site is ordered. .
"We have authorization from Sernageomin for the definitive closure of the Confluencia dam, which was one of the challenges of this table," said the governor of Coyhaique.
The battle of the settlers has been led by Gladys Vera, a neighbor of the Alto Mañihuales sector, who stated that the problem for which the closure of the tailings had not been achieved was because “we were trapped in a documentation issue, some permits that were not they were able to do through a mining law to close the dams. Now is the permit, you just have to make it official. It is very important, because it has been the focus of all the problems that we have dealt with up to now, ”explained the neighbor, who during all these years has kept the community organized so as not to decline until achieving the objective.
After complaints from neighbors, it was achieved with the help of some private groups, to make the government aware of the risks that existed for the community, which is why more than 30 people were given tests, of which 7 showed presence of heavy metals, being subjected to medical processes. Who currently, and according to the governor, would be discharged. "We are already discharging the 7 people who resulted with tests altered by heavy metals, we are going to repeat tests to rule out any other anomaly in the last week of April," added the authority.
A fact that was also valued by Gladys Vera, who highlighted the fact that repetition tests will be applied to the neighbors "the second battery of tests will be carried out at 30 - 32 people who were taken in September 2015", he pointed out the leader.
As the objective is to continue monitoring the damage caused by the mining action in the area, both in human, animal and plant life, it was possible to obtain financing for 400 million pesos from the Regional Government of Aysén, to develop a This study has been called "Comprehensive Monitoring Plan", which will be carried out by the University of Chile "which will investigate the actual concentrations that we have in all environmental matrices," explained Ana Valdés, Minister of Mining.
Long battle of the neighbors that today seems to be coming to fruition. One that we remember began in 2014, when the death of cattle was reported in a farm near the mine, which later and after a study carried out by the Medical College, allowed to evidence the high concentrations of heavy metals to which the neighbors of the sector.