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By Fabian Cambero
SANTIAGO, July 27 (Reuters) - The Chilean environmental regulator said on Tuesday that it had filed charges against the Candelaria copper mine, operated by Canada's Lundin, for breaches in its operational continuity permit.
The Environmental Superintendent (SMA) said three of the six charges it had brought against the mine operator were linked to violations of the terms set for blasting operations.
The institution said it had received a number of complaints from local residents and it expected the company to address those complaints along with its own requirements in a compliance plan.
It said that one serious charge related to the fact that more explosives than had been authorized in an original environmental plan were being used at Candelaria, resulting in an increase in atmospheric emissions that could potentially cause health problems for local inhabitants.
Another serious charge related to the company's failure to comply with a 2018 agreement to reduce the water consumption of its treatment plant, amid a long-running drought in the region, the SMA said.
Candelaria is at present seeking to extend the useful life of the mine, which is located in the north of the country, to 2030. Candelaria produced 94,800 tonnes of copper in 2020.
The company has 10 days to present a compliance plan or 15 days to challenge the charges. (Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Sandra Maler)