Most of SQM’S production facilities are located in areas that do not present significant biodiversity because of their geographic and climatic conditions. However, some of its areas of influence are valued for their biodiversity, and the company has implemented protection and mitigation plans within each of them. One example is the company’s operations in the Salar de Atacama. Although its property is located dozens of kilometres from the Soncor and Aguas de Quelana sectors of the National Flamingo Reserve, both areas are protected by environmental monitoring and contingency plans implemented by SQM for proper safeguarding.
In the case of the Nueva Victoria operations, the Salar de Llamara is classified as a priority site for conserving biodiversity in the Regional Biodiversity Conservation Strategy of the Tarapacá Region due to a native tamarugo (Prosopis Tamarugo) forest located there. Here, SQM participates in a task force led by regional environmental authorities (SEREMI de Medio Ambiente Tarapacá) to design a Conservation Management Plan for the Salar de Llamara Priority Site and create an environmental monitoring plan for the level and quality of groundwater as well as the water level, water quality and marine life in Puquios de Llamara and the flora and fauna in that area.
• Llamara Salar / Región de Tarapacá
The company’s production activities near these sectors have undergone extensive environmental assessment processes that include an evaluation stage for all activities that could have potential environmental impacts, after which all protective measures necessary to minimize any potential effects are taken. SQM implements complete and robust environmental monitoring and control plans in these sectors which allow it to ensure that its operations are carried out in compliance with predefined environmental objectives and to make appropriate decisions in cases where deviations are identified between monitoring results and the company’s commitments.
These plans extend to vegetation, flora, fauna and marine biota, among other species, and are complemented by programmes to monitor responsible water management and the hydrology of the aquifers from where we extract industrial water (Salar de Atacama, Salar de Llamara and Salar de Sur Viejo) and raw materials for production processes, as is the case with the brine deposits in the Salar de Atacama.