Prior Consultation with Indigenous Communities
Our Maricunga operation is located in the high Andes cordillera, about 135 kilometres from Copiapó, at an elevation of 4,500 metres above sea level. The access road to the mine is a public road with a gravel surface.It crosses the lands of indigenous Colla people who irrigate crops and raise livestock in the high valleys.
Over the years, Kinross has made significant investments in dust control and safety upgrades on the portion of the road leading to the mine. In 2011, the regional road department (VIALIDAD) authorized Maricunga to invest approximately $7 million in road upgrades for a 60-kilometre stretch of the public road that the mine uses to access the mine site. Although the company was not required by law to consult with the community in order to proceed with this project, we approached the Rio Jorquera Colla Community (RJCC) in order to seek their input regarding the details of the project and its implementation.
As a result of those consultations, several opportunities were identified to involve the RJCC in the project. At the outset, the project hired two indigenous inspectors to ensure environmental controls and right-of-way requirements were met. In turn, these inspectors also identified areas where, as part of the road upgrades, culverts and other drainage controls could be installed in order to improve capture of run-off for irrigation. Also, the purchasing department identified opportunities to purchase materials (water and sand) from the RJCC instead of bringing these materials into the project from elsewhere. Finally, using the equipment that had been mobilized for the road project, Maricunga contributed two major infrastructure works for the Colla community: a large water-storage pond with a high-density polyethylene liner for irrigation purposes, and a new rodeo field for the community’s sport activities.
Our Maricunga site entered into an agreement with RJCC to implement these activities as part of the project, and appointed a “community relations champion” from the project team to serve as a point of contact as the work progressed. As previously reported, the work was completed in mid-2012, and the new road was inaugurated on August 15, 2012.
In his speech at the works inauguration ceremony, the president of the Colla community, Mr. Roberto Salinas, stated: “This is an example of how our Vulnerable Groups, Investors and Authorities can work together to realize initiatives while respecting the law and the indigenous vision.”