Chilean mininig company Antofagasta is continuing work on its El Mauro tailings dam project pending a final ruling after some of its water rights were challenged.

The El Mauro tailings dam is being built by Antofagasta’s largest mine, Los Pelambres, which is about 200km northeast of Santiago and produces some 322,800 tonnes per year of copper in concentrate. The dam is meant to help boost the processing capacity at Los Pelambres, one of the largest open pit mines in Chile.

The El Mauro project is already 58% complete and was originally permitted in 2004, but certain aspects of the project relating to water rights have been successfully appealed by community organisations. Los Pelambres says it has received all the technical and legal permits needed for the project, and is appealing a decision by a Santiago court to uphold the community claim.