Renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle heads the organization that aims to protect unique marine ecosystems such as the Humboldt Archipelago, which is being threatened by megaprojects Dominga and Cruz Grande.
Santiago (May 19, 2020)
Mission Blue’s incorporation into the Humboldt Alliance was described as a great step toward the definitive protection of the Humboldt Archipelago. The Humboldt Alliance is a network of national and international organizations that came together over a year ago to ensure the conservation of this marine ecosystem which is currently being threatened by port mining project Dominga and port project Cruz Grande.
Mission Blue, whose international renown is based on its work to preserve marine ecosystems that are important to the health of oceans, had already recognized the unique characteristics of the Humboldt Archipelago, designating it as a Hope Spot in April 2018.
“At Mission Blue, we are honored to join Humboldt Alliance. I have been to many places in the world and I had the opportunity to dive in this incredibly ecosystem, one of the most important areas in the entire Humboldt Current”, said Dr. Sylvia Earle. “Renown scientists have said that the Humboldt Archipelago must be protected, and we cannot allow mega ports such as Dominga or Cruz Grande to be built there”, she added.
The Humboldt Archipelago, located north of the city of La Serena, from Caleta Hornos to Chañaral de Aceituno in the southernmost area of the Atacama region, includes eight islands and islets that harbor the lives of hundreds of species, such as the largest global population of Humboldt penguins, the unique resident population of bottlenose dolphins, in addition to different whale species that find here a place to feed, rest and breed.
DOMINGA AND CRUZ GRANDE THREATEN THE ARCHIPELAGO
Despite the significance of this ecosystem, which is widely recognized by the scientific world, the Humboldt Archipelago is currently being threatened by two projects that aim to establish in this area. On one hand, Dominga mining project, whose titleholder is Andes Iron, plans to exploit two open-pit mines with a life cycle of only 25 years and includes the construction of a mega port in the middle of the archipelago. On the other hand, located close to Dominga is Cruz Grande, which belongs to CAP mining company and aims to build another mega port that would have an even greater impact on the area.
Dominga’s environmental assessment caused the project to be rejected because of the serious impacts it would have on the archipelago’s marine ecosystem, but the company resorted to judicial instances to reverse the rejection. The Cruz Grande project has been authorized but did not initiate construction work within the time period that was stipulated, which is why its permit would currently no longer be valid.
The majority of the local community rejects both projects, a position that has been strengthened by the joint work of the organizations in the Humboldt Alliance, a conglomerate comprised of Oceana, Explorasub, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, Parley, Chao Pescao, Terram Foundation, Chile Sustentable, NGO FIMA, Environmental Advocacy, Geute, Ecosistemas, Jane Goodall Foundation, Ayni, Chinchimén, Fundación Relaves, Aula de Mar, Panthalassa, Codesa and C-Verde; in addition to groups in the area of conflict which are coordinated by the Coquimbo-Atacama Humboldt Alliance, which is comprised of IV Region Environmental Advocacy, MODEMA, Sphenisco, and 90 other regional organizations.