A constitutional assembly in Chile has rejected plans to nationalize parts of the crucial mining industry in a blow to progressive hopes of recasting the Pinochet-era neoliberal political settlement.
The proposal, known as Section 27, would have given the state exclusive mining rights over lithium, rare metals and hydrocarbons and a majority stake in copper mines.
But he faced fierce opposition from the mining sector and was dismissed last week in a defeat for progressive hopes to redistribute wealth in the world’s top copper-producing nation.
The overthrow of the 1980 constitution adopted by right-wing dictator General Augusto Pinochet was the main focus of anti-government protests in 2019 which succeeded in establishing a constitutional assembly to oversee reform.
The country’s environmental commission put several variants of the article to the vote on Saturday, but they all failed to secure the 103-vote supermajority needed to pass in the draft constitution.
However, a separate clause, Article 25, which says miners must set aside “resources to repair damage” to the environment and adverse effects where mining takes place, won a supermajority. and will be in the draft constitution.
The assembly also approved the prohibition of mining in glaciers, protected areas and regions essential to the protection of the water system. Articles guaranteeing farmers and indigenous peoples the right to traditional seeds, the right to safe and accessible energy and the protection of the oceans and the atmosphere were also approved.
The vote for approval of the articles ends after Saturday and new commissions responsible for fine-tuning the text take over on Monday. The final draft is expected in early July and citizens will vote to approve or reject it on September 4.
The environmental commission, dominated by self-proclaimed eco-voters, saw just one of its 40 proposals approved in their first general assembly votes.
The commission has since moderated its proposals, but its articles, including expanding protected lands, restricting private water rights and turning the fight against climate change into a state obligation, have been included in the new draft text.