The Chilean government has just turned down a $2.5 billion mining project in favor of endangered wildlife conservation.

The original project proposal was for an iron mining initiative launched by the Andes Iron firm in the Coquimbo region. The region is dangerously close to the National Humboldt Penguin Reserve: a collection of islands that house and protect the Humboldt penguin, along with several other endangered species.

If Chilean representatives had accepted the proposal, the firm would have begun extracting millions of tons of metal from the earth, as well as building a seaport for the metal’s exportation.

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Since conservationists warned that the projects could potentially harm the penguins, the Chilean government refused.

“The compensation measures were insufficient and could not guarantee the protection of species of concern,” Environmental Minister Marcelo Mena told the Associated Press.

“We are not against economic development or projects that are necessary for the country’s growth, but they must offer adequate solutions for the impact they will have.”

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