Published: Monday 31 December 2001

Comments made by economy minister Jorge Rodriguez supporting the controversial aluminium plant in an ecosensitive area have created a flutter. And environmentalists are seeking a clarification for the same. They have handed in a written petition to the state comptroller questioning the remarks made by the minister.

Some time back, in a speech Rodriguez had downplayed environmental concerns about the megaproject planned by Canadianmetals group Noranda Inc. "Rodriguez has declared his support for a project before it has been approved and ratified by a board of ministers which he forms part of. This removes all credibility, transparency and legitimacy of the environmental institutions," says Guido Girardi, who heads a small party in the ruling coalition and supports environmentalists' concerns about the plant which could damage the Aysen region, a zone of unspoiled beauty in southern Chile.

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