In March 2015, flash floods due to heavy rains caused extensive damage in Chile. In Alto del Carmen County, located in the Atacama region’s Huasco Province, the floods damaged homes while also significantly impacting the local agriculture industry, an important economic driver in the region.
This area is significant to Teck, as our former Relincho copper project, now known as Project Corridor, a 50/50 joint venture owned by Teck and Goldcorp, is located there. In areas where our employees live and work, we support community development and enhance specific community objectives as part of our community investment commitment.
Our commitment to communities is unwavering, especially in times of significant need. That’s why we provided multi-faceted support to help address short-term and long-term priorities for communities in Alto del Carmen County that were impacted by flooding. During and immediately after flooding, we provided construction materials and the use of machinery to protect homes and open critical roadways. We also provided equivalent donations from Teck employees, with overall funds used to purchase immediate living needs including beds and other household items.
We provided long-term support to help rebuild the community. Through extensive local engagement with multiple levels of government, local farming and union organizations as well as community members, it was identified that there were significant impacts on local small-scale farmers whose irrigation systems were damaged due to flooding. Many local farmers were unable to access funds through traditional funding sources in order to repair irrigation systems and begin farming again.
Teck worked with Chile’s National Institute for Development of Agriculture and Livestock (INDAP) to develop the Teck-INDAP fund, which provides loans for local farmers to repair irrigation systems that will be repaid once farmers regain financial self-sufficiency.
Teck initially contributed US$500,000 to the fund and as of March 2016, four farmers have accessed funding. A board consisting of representatives of Teck, the National Irrigation Commission, Atacama Agricultural Seremi, the local farming community and the Governor of the Huasco Province meets regularly to determine qualification for loans. The fund, managed by INDAP, will continue to provide support to small-scale farmers to help enable the region to prosper again.