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Codelco probed for environmental violations at Ventanas copper facility

State-run Codelcois being investigated by the Chilean environmental regulator over alleged infractionsat its Ventanas refinery and smelter, Reuters reported May 6.

The copper producer is being probed for failing to convert tonatural gas for some processes and equipment, lacking a system to capture acidicmist and failing to implement a process to ensure the safety of native wildlife,according to the regulator, known as SMA.

Communities near Ventanas have blamed emissions and heavy-metalparticles from the plant for health problems, the report said.

Codelco said the alleged violations do not pose human healthrisks and has vowed to respond within 72 hours.

The company also added that it spent more than US$160 millionin almost 15 projects at the facility since 2012 to reduce its impact on the environment.