Invierno Mine

From Global Energy Monitor


This article is part of the Global Coal Mine Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Invierno Mine, known in Spanish as Mina Invierno or Minera Invierno, is a coal mine located on Riesco Island in Chile.


The satellite photo below shows the mine site in the Seno Otway sector of Riesco Island, Chile. The company's website indicates that the Invierno coal project is located on the ranch of the same name, occupying 1,509 hectares, or nearly a third of the total area of Riesco Island, Chile's fourth largest island.[1][2]

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Mina Invierno, whose name translates to "Winter Mine," is Chile's largest domestic coal mine.[3] It was the first of five mines planned for Chile's Riesco Island as part of the Mina Isla Riesco project.

A Chilean government commission approved the plan for Mina Invierno in August of 2011.[4] The mine was estimated to have around a 73 million metric ton reserve in 2012. Copec, of the Angelini group, and Inversiones Ultraterra of Von Appen - both subsidiaries of Ultramar [5] - reported an investment of 530 million dollars into the project.[6]

The mine began operating in 2013, with an environmental permit allowing for the production of up to 6 million tonnes of coal per annum.[7]

In June 2019, the environmental court of Valdivia cancelled Mina Invierno's blasting permit, prompting the the mine's board of directors to announce cessation of operations effective November 2019.[8][9][10][11]At the time of the announcement, Mina Invierno was producing 2.3 million tonnes of coal per annum, with plans to increase production to 4 million.[12]

In October 2019, Platts reported that the mine's impending closure, coupled with Chile's recent signing of a new trans-Pacific trade deal, might lead Chile to import sub-bituminous coal from Indonesia to feed the country's remaining coal-fired power plants - all of which must be closed by 2040 under Chile's national decarbonization plan.[3]

Mina Invierno sent its last shipment of coal in April 2020[13][14], but its owners continue to appeal the court ruling that led to the mine's closure.[15]


According to environmentalists, the land Mina Invierno is built on is a part of the Reserva Nacional Alacaluf.[6]

In 2013, Mina Invierno was directing 30 percent of the coal to the thermoelectric power plants in the north of Chile and was selling the rest to China, contradicting the initial promise that the plant would reduce Chile's coal imports.[16]

Workers involved with the project say that the working conditions at the mine are dangerous. President of the Mina Invierno workers’ union Miguel Bravo said in 2013 that "the health and safety requirements are not being met. The paths are not wide enough, there are collapses and it is a question of luck whether the trucks manage to reach their destination. The working conditions are very dangerous because of the weather conditions and they fail to comply with Decree 132 governing this type of work."[16]

Conflicts of Interest

Sebastián Piñera was serving his first term as president of Chile when the country approved Minera Isla Riesco. Piñera had a financial interest in the project, the billionaire businessman held 785,609[16] shares of stock in Copec at the time. Despite the stock being held in a blind trust, the Piñera government's environmental authority's approval of Mina Invierno garnered the president 5 million dollars in profit.[4]

Project Details

  • Owner: Empresas Copec S.A. and Inversiones Ultraterra Limited[17]
  • Parent company: Ultramar[17]
  • Location: Km. 40 of Route Y-560 on Riesco Island, Chile
  • GPS coordinates: -53.0006953,-72.4206119 (exact)
  • Mine status: Operating
  • Start year: 2013[7]
  • Mineable reserves: 73 million tonnes
  • Coal type: Subbituminus[7]
  • Mine size: 1509 Acres
  • Mine type: Surface, Mobile Open Pit[7]
  • Production: 2.3 million tonnes per year[12]
  • Equipment:
  • Number of employees: 500[18]

Articles and resources


  1. Mina Inverno location organizational site, accessed Nov. 4, 2019
  2. Frik Els The world’s southernmost mines, January 18, 2016
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Chile could resume Indonesian coal imports after mine closure | S&P Global Platts". S&P Global. October 9, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Benjamin Schneider Chile approves massive coal mining project in extreme south Patagonia The Santiago Times via MercoPress, August 16, 2011
  5. "About Us". Mina Invierno S.A. Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Cooperativa Translation: Get to know the controversial mining project in Riesco Island Original: Conozca el polémico proyecto minero en Isla Riesco Radio Dulce Patria, Sept. 29, 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Mina Invierno Operation Mina Invierno organizational website, accessed July 23, 2020
  8. "Mina Invierno begins closure process, confir..." BNamericas. June 26, 2019.
  9. "Mina Invierno confirma su cierre paulatino lo cual afectará a 1.100 puestos de trabajo". BioBioChile. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  10. El Desconcierto Orginal: Mina Invierno cerrará operaciones en Isla Riesco en noviembre Translation: Mina Invierno will close operations on Riesco Island in November El Desconcierto July 25, 2019
  11. UChile Newspaper Orginal: Golpe a Mina Invierno: Tribunal Ambiental anula permiso de tronaduras Translation: Mine Winter coup: Environmental Court cancels blasting permit Diario UChile, August 21, 2019
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Mina Invierno advierte que podría dejar de operar en 5 meses tras duro fallo de la justicia ambiental - Guía Minera de Chile". Guía Minera de Chile. June 15, 2019.
  13. "Mina Invierno despachó su última carga de carbón". Reporte Minero. April 9, 2020.
  14. "Mina Invierno detiene operaciones con envío de último embarque de carbón". Diario Financiero. April 4, 2020.
  15. "Especialista y ex juez: fallo contra Mina Invierno fue "ilógico" y no ponderó todas las variables". La Prensa Austral. June 22, 2020.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Bruno Sommer Catalán Chile: Riesco Island on high alert Equal Times Nov. 6, 2016
  17. 17.0 17.1 Mina Invierno About Us organizational website, accessed Nov 4, 2019
  18. Mina Invierno our workers organizational website, accessed Nov 4, 2019

Related articles

External resources

External articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Minera Invierno (Minera Invierno). This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License].