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Estudios atacameños

versión On-line ISSN 0718-1043


SCHORR, Bettina. Unequal opportunities: companies and the State in contention over mining in Chile. Estud. atacam. [online]. 2018, n.57, pp.239-255. ISSN 0718-1043.

This article examines significant variations between two conflicts over mining in Chile regarding the degree, the scale and the outcomes of contention: the conflicts in Chañaral where the public company Codelco operates and in the Huasco Valley (Pascua Lama) where a transnational company is in charge. While the former suffers widespread contamination caused by mining activities, opposition against mining remains low and isolated and the state barely responds to local claims. In contrast, the mining project of Pascua Lama motivated large-scale protests, reached national and international support and managed that state agencies partly acted on behalf of local claims. Three factors explain these differences: First, the local economic context, i.e. the dependency of a given place on the mining industry affects the degree and shape of contention; second, the presence of the public company, which both reduces the overall disposition to contest its activities as well as the opportunities to ‘scale- up’ contention. Moreover, state authorities tend to protect public companies that provide significant fiscal incomes; Lastly, the origin of the company (national - transnational) shapes the scale as well as the outcomes of contention over mining.

Palabras clave : contention over mining; public companies; transnational relations; mining industry in Chile; social mobilization.

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