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Magallanes region discusses gas prices with Chilean central government

Wednesday, March 9th 2011 - 04:59 UTC
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During January Punta Arenas was paralyzed by a community strike for several days During January Punta Arenas was paralyzed by a community strike for several days

Mining and Energy Minister Laurence Golborne met with the Citizens’ Assembly of Magallanes Region (ACM) (extreme south of Chile) after the first of a series of meetings intended to resolve the Magallanes’ gas subsidy controversy.

The ACM was highly influential in organizing the protests against the price hike. Originally the group was only offered one place at the table, but they insisted on at least five.

At the first meeting on Tuesday, the one ACM participant refused to attend. The meeting went ahead without him, but ACM received backing from the mayor of Punta Arenas.

The next meeting will take place on March 7, with draft proposals ready by the end of April and discussed in congress in June or July.

Following January’s protests over planned reductions in gas subsides for the Magallanes region in southern Chile, discussions were arranged to help secure the long-term future of gas prices in the region.

The original plans were for a 16.5% price hike, but following the protests, this was reduced to 3%.

This was a temporary agreement lasting ten months, coinciding with round-table discussions to provide the draft to a bill to be presented before congress.
ACM leader Jose Hernandez said the group was willing to negotiate over the final number of representatives.

By Mark Briggs - Santiago Times

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