Environment in Chile

Barros & Errázuriz

Barros & Errázuriz 'has an outstanding environmental law team that brings a unique approach to the table; it also has the ability to work in interdisciplinary teams, smoothly integrating legal advice into company structures'. The nine-strong practice (one of the market's largest) is experienced in advising on the environmental law issues surrounding investment projects - including project design, environmental assessments, compliance programmes, and administrative appeals before the environmental authorities and dispute resolution before the courts. The practice also stands out for its work on desalination projects and has an additional specialisation in environmental emergency situations. In this latter area, the team recently acted for Oxiquim in a highly significant environmental crisis involving the alleged intoxication of over 1000 people from pollutants. Head of the firm's energy, environment and natural resources practices, Fernando Garrido also has relevant projects and transactional experience. He is backed by a formidable team of senior associates comprising former General Counsel of the Environmental Assessment Agency, practice director Matías Montoya , who is 'a rising star for environmental issues'; former SMA Chief of Staff Ignacio Urbina  (environmental compliance, enforcement, strategy, due diligence and risk assessment); Guillermo García (environmental impact assessments, litigation and regulation); and World Bank-recognised local expert on water law, Pedro Pablo Ballivian (aquaculture, maritime environmental matters and desalinization projects). Clients include Interacid Trading (Chile), Colbún, Interconexión Eléctrica, Agrícola Topocalma, Acuimag and Eletrans.


Carey 'stands out for its high-level knowledge of different subjects, which allows the team to provide a complete service that integrates various technical and legal areas'. The 17-strong practice is highly rated for environmental evaluations, strategy development, auditing and environmental litigation; it also regularly advises on water rights related to mining, agribusiness, and hydroelectric projects, and sales and acquisitions of rights of use and supply. Active clients include Latin America Power, Codelco, Westchester Agriculture Asset Management, Enel, Antofagasta Minerals and Sierra Gorda. The team recently advised global aquaculture company Marine Harvest on the environmental aspects of the escape of huge numbers of fish from its farm in southern Chile. In other matters, the team acted for Empresa Eléctrica Carén in administrative and sanctioning proceedings before the General Water Bureau and Civil Courts in relation to hydroelectric power plants. Practice co-head (and regulatory specialist) Rafael Vergara and water-law lead Alberto Cardemil are key individuals, as are: Aldo Molinari (noted for environmental regulatory litigation); counsel Felipe Meneses (who focuses on environmental and indigenous law, territorial planning and regulatory matters); and experienced senior associates Julio Recordon and Manuel José Barros.


FerradaNehme is particularly focused on the environmental law aspects of the development of complex projects, including the design and implementation of permit strategies and the filing and management of critical permits. The seven-strong team also assists with the avoidance of potential environmental conflicts, including establishing relations with the authorities and engagement with local communities; and has developed a practice advising on recently enacted recycling and extended producers' liability legislation. Recent mandates include representing state-owned mining company Codelco, in a protection action brought by a fishermen’s union against the Environmental Authority and thirteen major companies (of which Codelco is one), concerning the environmental impact of longstanding extractive and power-generation activity in the Puchuncavi zone; it is the largest environmental suit in the country. Other notable clients include BHP, Copec, Andes Iron, Enel Green Power, Anglo American and Royal Gold. Permitting and project development-focused Patricio Leyton heads the team; he is highly regarded for his negotiation skils.  Also very well regarded, Valeria Ruz 's practice spans community relations, advisory, administrative matters and litigation. Former practice director and environmental-impact-assessment-system specialist Carola Salamanca  was made partner in mid 2018.

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría's 'unique team is ahead of others for legal-environmental issues; the team is also proficient in a diverse range of legal environmental services'. The practice is characterised by its advice on domestic environmental matters and procedures, international projects involving environmental issues, environmental litigation and energy projects requiring environmental law permits. Active clients include Compañía Minera Maricunga, Metro, Enap, Pampa Camarones and Kinross Gold. The team led the defence of EDF Renewable Energy against sanction procedures brought by Chile's office of Environmental Superintendence and stemming from accusation of alleged Environmental Assessment System evasion. Juan José Eyzaguirre leads the environmental and energy group in Chile and is 'a seasoned lawyer who has the ability to review projects from many angles, analyse several scenarios, and think outside the box'. The senior associates to note are Paulina Toro, previously a member of the legal division of the former National Environmental Commission's executive directorate, and Felipe Arévalo, who is 'extremely thorough and can fit into multidisciplinary teams'.

Vergara Galindo Correa Abogados

Vergara Galindo Correa Abogados is widely respected for its environmental law advice on high-profile energy and mining projects, particularly  environmental disputes before the administrative authorities, enforcement and sanctions, and compliance issues. Recent mandates include acting as co-counsel to Lundin Mining subsidiary CCMC in relation to the possible breaching of several environmental assessment resolutions; representing AES Gener in the lawsuit brought by a fishermen's union in relation to environmental damage in Puchuncavi area; and acting as counsel to Barrick in its appeal against the SMA's resolution closing the Pascua Lama project. The recommended names are Javier Vergara, Mario Galindo, Pablo Ortíz, Eduardo CorreaJosé Luis Fuenzalida, Cecilia Urbina and Winston Alburquenque. Experienced associate Doris Sepulveda Solar moved to Moreno Sáez & Avilés.

Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos

Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos 'has very good knowledge of environmental practice'. The team regularly assists with the environmental law aspects of power-plant developments and advises on sanctioning procedures before the authorities. Active clients include BHP Billiton, Iansa, Stericycle, SGS Laboratories and Cognita; and recent mandates saw the team advise diversified global corporation ATCO on the environmental due diligence required for the acquisition of a 40 per cent stake in Neltume Ports. Gonzalo Jiménez is highly rated and Martín Astorga 'gets very involved in his clients' issues, providing comprehensive legal advice not only when required, but also when new environmental regulations are issued'.

Cubillos Evans Abogados

While the its service offering is broader than that of a pure boutique, environmental law undoubtedly constitutes the backbone of Cubillos Evans Abogados, which fields one of the largest and most specialised teams in the market. It is highly rated for its assistance with environmental law assessments, permits, environment-related dispute resolution, compliance matters and environmental law claims before the Environmental Tribunal and administrative courts; and the practice also distinguishes itself through its niche expertise in forest law. Recent mandates include representing GNL Quintero in the multiparty lawsuit brought by a fishermen's union in relation to environmental damage in Puchuncavi area. Founding partner Gonzalo Cubillos and key practice contact Fernando Molina are both hugely experienced environmental all-rounders with public-sector experience at former environmental agency CONAMA (sub-director and legal head, respectively). Aurelio de Diego, José Miguel Hernández and Cristóbal Illanes are all also noted.

Guerrero Olivos

Guerrero Olivos assists with the environmental law aspects of transactions, as well as advising on permits and representing its clients before the environmental authorities; the practice also has experience in water law. Recent mandates include advising multinational mining company Rio 2 on the indirect acquisition (via merger) of Minera Atacama Pacific Gold, a transaction with environmental sensitivities due to its proximity to the Marcunga salt flats; ongoing matters include representing Puerto Ventanas in the multiparty lawsuit brought by a fishermen's union in relation to environmental damage in Puchuncavi municipality and assisting Banmerchant in relation to the El Alto project, a mandate that resulted in the establishment of a new legal figure, "conservation easement" (implemented by Law No. 20,930) and involving the establishment of a non-profit foundation to manage the easement accord. Martín Santa María (head of the environmental and real estate practices), Sebastián Abogabir (co-head of the firm's energy and water law practices) and Clemente Pérez (co-head of the firm's energy and infrastructure practices) are the key contacts. Specialised senior associates Benjamín Pérez (water law and mining) and Felipe Frühling (environment and energy & natural resources) constitute a strong second line. Clients include China Southern Power Grid, Gas Natural Fenosa Group and Anglo American. Since publication, Pérez has been raised to the partnership, effective as of January 2020.

Urenda, Rencoret, Orrego y Dörr

Urenda, Rencoret, Orrego y Dörr's six-strong practice includes complex environmental due diligence, permit-related environmental risks, and compliance with environmental regulations; typical work includes assistance with waste management issues, emissions, air quality issues and water law. In recent matters, the team advised Inmobiliaria Punta Piqueros on the environmental law aspects of the construction of a luxury hotel; Enel Generación regarding the administration and regularisation of water rights in the Laja watershed (where Enel has three hydroelectric power plants: Abanico, El Toro and Antuco); and advising Dow Química Chilean on registration and compliance with new waste-management regulations. Practice head Ignacio Urrutia receives additional partner-level support from Sergio Orrego  and Nicholas Mocarquer . Associate Katia Spoerer  is also noted.

Arteaga Gorziglia & Cia Abogados

Arteaga Gorziglia & Cia Abogados  Environmental law is one of the four core practice areas at Arteaga Gorziglia & Cia Abogados where name partner Ignacio Arteaga E combines his corporate practice with a focus on the environmental, regulatory and land-planning aspects of investment projects,  along with environmental assessment procedures, audits and environmental litigation (including environmental damage liability). Senior associate Pedro Lagos C heads up the environmental and regulatory practice group.

Aylwin Mendoza Luksic & Valencia – AMLV

Aylwin Mendoza Luksic & Valencia – AMLV's practice includes advising on permits, titles, contractual matters and compliance; it also fields specialists in water law, oil and gas. Key clients include Enel, Geopark and Veolia, and recent work saw the team assist Teck with the environmental-law aspects of the Quebrada Blanca II mining development project. 'Vastly experienced', practice director Alejandra Precht previously worked at the National Commission for the Environment. Key support comes from founding partner Pedro Aylwin who has profound experience in oil and gas matters; Gonzalo Arévalo, a former head of the legal department at national water agency Dirección General de Aguas; and his younger colleague Nicolás Cannoni, also a water law specialist.

Bofill, Mir & Álvarez Jana

Bofill, Mir & Álvarez Jana focuses on environmental compliance, due diligence and assessments, and environmental litigation and sanctions. Recent work highlights saw the five-strong team successfully act for Compañía Minera Nevada (CMN) in a constitutional action brought by a local community in relation to flooding that caused the destruction of CMN's water management plant. Guillermo de la Jara and senior associate Cristián Franetovic are the main contacts. Key clients include Compañía Contractual Minera Candelaria, Mitsui & Co, Redhill Chile and Pacal Grupo Inmobiliario.

Carcelén, Desmadryl, Guzmán & Tapia

Closely focused on natural resources, environmental law, energy, litigation, aquaculture and public law, Carcelén, Desmadryl, Guzmán & Tapia is well known in the market for its counsel  on the environmental law aspects of energy and mining projects; representative work includes compliance, litigation involving sanctions, water-law rights and forestry. Rodrigo Guzmán is highly regarded. Head of litigation Eduardo Ugarte, who joined from his own firm in June 2018, is experienced in handling contentious environmental matters.

Claro & Cia.

The nine-strong team at Claro & Cia. advises on complex projects from an environmental perspective and acts in environmental litigation before the environmental courts and authorities. Recent mandates saw the team defend key client Anglo American Sur against a claim seeking the review of the environmental assessment resolution for the expansion of the Los Bronces copper mine project. Practice head Nicolás Eyzaguirre's extensive experience includes energy, litigation, transactions and regulatory matters, as well as his expertise in environmental matters. Key support comes from senior associate Joaquín Rodríguez, whose practice extends into the mining sector. Clients include First Solar, Elecmetal, Glenfarne Group and BioMar Chile.

CMS Carey & Allende

CMS Carey & Allende's three-strong practice group is experienced in advising on environmental impact assessments - particularly in relation to mining, power plant and high-voltage power line projects. A case in point was the team's recent role advising both Hidroeléctrica Lumen  and Hidroeléctrica Doña Alicia regarding their respective EIAs. Senior associate Aldo Poblete heads the team. Active clients include Interaseo Chile, AquaChile, Valmar and Promigas.

Correa Squella

Acting on behalf of clients such as  Empresa Portuaria San Antonio, Gas Sur, Andesfood and Inmobiliaria Crillón, Correa Squella 's practice covers concessions and permits, EIAs, and dispute resolution. Practice head Claudia Ferreiro specialises in air pollution, waste, climate change and biodiversity protection, among other market segments. Support comes from associate Álvaro Barros.


Steadily establishing an important presence in the sector, specialist boutique EELAW fields a 13-strong team that focuses on the environmental assessment of projects, environmental compliance, due diligence and strategic permit-planning, as well as litigation and administrative proceedings. Recent matters include assisting mining company Cerro Negro obtain SMA approval of its compliance program and Coro Mining with the optimization of its environmental processes; ongoing matters include advising  and the Asociación de Generadoras de Chile with rolling analysis of the country's environmental legal framework. A current member of the Advisory Council of Chile's Ministry of Environment, firm founding-partner Paulina Riquelme has 20 years' experience in the sector.  Key support comes form experienced senior associates Dusanka Inostroza (who joined the firm in August 2018 from the SEA), and Felipe Ramírez Parada. Other clients include  Sociedad Nacional de Minería (SONAMI), Teck Chile, Dell Chile and Haldeman Mining.

Jara Del Favero Abogados

Jara Del Favero & Ried Fabres assists with the environmental impact assessments (EIAs) of investment projects, the enforcement of environmental regulations, and environmental lawsuits and appeals involving environmental non-compliance and damages. Key clients include Minera Los Pelambres, Monsanto Chile, Transelec and Empresa Eléctrica Carén; the team recently defended olive oil producer Olivares de Quepu against sanctions. Gabriel Del Favero Valdés is highly regarded; however, associates Dino Pruzzo Gonzalez and Javier Ruscica left to estabish PRB Abogados in June 2019.

Larrain y Asociados Abogados

Larrain y Asociados Abogados' expertise in environmental matters is the product of more than 20 years' experience handling infrastructure and energy projects -and to a lesser degree mining. The nine-strong team regularly handles environmental audits, and permit applications and management, as well as having considerable experience of investigations and environmental damage claims. Recent matters saw the team assist Sonnedix with the environmental law aspects of its solar plant developments in northern Chile, notably the sizeable Atacama Solar project. Jorge Granic and Cristóbal Morandé are both experienced practitioners. Other clients include Transchile Charrúa Chile, Ferrovial Airports International, Albemarle and Sociedad Punta del Cobre.

Lavin Abogados & Consultores

Established in September 2017, Lavín Abogados & Consultores is a specialist  boutique firm with a close focus on sectors with extensive environmental requirements, including maritime concessions, energy, mining and water-law, infrastructure projects, real estate and transactional matters. The eight-strong team acts for clients including Aguas Andinas, Hidroelectrica Ñuble and Aguas Pacífico and has 'excellent knowledge of environmental regulations'. Recent matters include defending potable water producer-distributor, Essal against an environmental damage claim brought by a municipality. Practice head Julio Lavín is a 'prestigious and longstanding' figure in the sector. He is flanked by Andrés Del Favero (environment, maritime & aquaculture concessions, mining and infrastructure), and Roberto Sepúlveda (energy, infrastructure, real estate and corporate law). Clients include Aguas Andinas, OMX Operaciones Marítimas, Hidroelectrica Ñuble, Aguas Pacífico and Empresas CMPC.

Morales & Besa

Morales & Besa 'has a strong environmental law team that understands the legal aspects of environmental, social and community issues'. The six-strong practice group handles matters including administrative proceedings involving compliance with environmental regulations, sanctioning before the authorities and courts, project-related EIAs, and environmental legal audits. Recent work saw the team successfully assist the Chilean branch of France's ParexGroup with the granting of environmental permits for its Lampa manufacturing plant in Santiago. A former head of the Environment Ministry's legal division, 'dedicated' senior associate Paloma Infante M is head of the department with partner-level support provided by infrastructure specialist Carlos Silva. Key clients include Astaldi Chile, Comsa Energías Renovables, BHP and Cencosud.

Moreno Sáez & Avilés

Primarily focused on administrative, energy and environmental law, growing boutique firm Moreno Sáez & Avilés demonstrates 'impressive experience', according to clients. Founding partners Sebastián Áviles (environmental law, administrative law and litigation), Andrés Sáez (environmental law, public law & regulation) and José Adolfo Moreno Correa (public/private matters, natural resources and environment law) all have public sector experience at Chile's Environmental Assessment Agency. The team habitually advises on project-related EIAs as well as administrative sanctions and environmental law litigation, and acts of notable clients including Albermarle, Antofagasta Minerals, COPEC, Grupo Suksa and AES Gener. Recent mandates include defending the latter against administrative sanctions raised in relation to its Alto Maipo hydroelectric project. Other matters include ongoing environmental and regulatory advice to Antofagasta subsidiary, Minera Centinela. Key practice support comes from experienced senior associate Magdalena Prieto Pradenas; her fellow senior, Doris Sepúlveda Solar  (who arrived from Vergara Galindo Correa Abogados in  August 2018), and associate Máximo Nuñez Reyes.

Prieto Abogados

Following the departure of former senior associate Aldo Cardinali to the Mining Ministry in 2018, Prieto Abogados hired senior associate Agustín Martorell from Claro & Cia.  as practice director. The three-strong team, which can rely on partner-level input from Juan Tagle, handles environmental due diligence during M&A, administrative procedures before the environmental authorities, contentious defences, and environmental compliance and permitting issues. Clients include Engie Energía Chile, Plaza del Trébol and YPF Chile; the team recently acted for the latter before the administrative authorities in relation to an oil spill in the Magallanes region.