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Chile's Supreme Court upholds water ruling for Kinross' Maricunga gold mine

The Chilean Supreme Court upheld an environmental order for the closure of water pumping wells at Kinross Gold Corp.'s Maricunga gold mine in the country, Reuters reported Oct. 10.

An environmental watchdog, also known by its Spanish acronym, SMA, initially ordered the closure in 2016.

The SMA claimed that the mine exacerbated the effects of a severe drought in the region and reduced the volumes of groundwater available. Kinross challenged the ruling Chile's environmental tribunal and then in the country's highest court.

At the time, Kinross rejected the claims saying the region had suffered from a protracted drought for many years, resulting in a drop in groundwater levels across the region and was unrelated to the mine's operations.

The dispute resulted in halt of the company's extraction, grinding and stockpiling operations and layoffs off 300 staff in the fourth quarter of 2016 after the original ruling in March that year.

The court in its latest ruling pointed at "inadequate management of unforeseen environmental impacts on the Pantanillo-Ciénaga Redonda basin" located in the country's Atacama desert.