We have been working with a community group near our Carmen de Andacollo (CdA) copper operation in central Chile in response to a community dispute relating to environmental and socio-economic concerns.
The community group, which is called Comunidad Andacollina Organizada (CAO) – or, in English, Andacollo-organized community – consists of members of the Andacollo community, including representatives of women’s groups, local government and religious leaders.
To facilitate our work together, we proposed to CAO a series of roundtables, each focusing on a specific topic of concern to the community. In these roundtables, representatives from CdA and CAO reviewed each issue, defining goals and the actions we could take to achieve them.
The environment roundtable, for example, became known as the Community Environmental Panel in CdA. We hired Casa de la Paz, a well-known and respected non-governmental organization in Chile, to set a framework for the Panel and facilitate the dialogue. Throughout the process, we shared data and hosted tours of CdA so members of the Panel could see first-hand how our environmental measures are implemented and monitored.
The goal of the Panel was, ultimately, to increase knowledge about CdA in the community of Andacollo, particularly the measures being taken to protect the environment.
One important example we wanted to communicate were the steps that had been taken in recent years to reduce emissions and improve air quality, both at our operation and in Andacollo.
The measures implemented were designed to reduce emissions produced by light vehicles and machinery on-site as well as throughout each step of the mining process, including during blasting. Measures to improve air quality include the application of dust suppressants on mining roads with equipment traffic and the contracting of sweeping equipment for paved streets in Andacollo. These actions, aligned with the Chilean government’s Atmospheric Decontamination Plan, were designed to improve air quality in specific regions of the country.
Through the Community Environmental Panel, Teck and the Andacollo community – as represented by CAO – created a space to address shared environmental priorities, and to communicate successes and challenges. This provided the community with better knowledge of the measures being taken by CdA to protect air quality and the environment. Site visits allowed the community to monitor the effectiveness of the environmental initiatives.
Working together with CAO to promote the long-term sustainability of both our operation and the town of Andacollo – home to many of our employees – reinforced for us that working with the community is the best way to move forward and address shared priorities.