More on the ongoing story of the massive hydroelectric project threatening Patagonia: Chilean minister of mining and energy Laurence Golborne recently admitted he was offered directorship at Hidroaysen [Chilean company in charge of dam project] before assuming his position as minister.

He told press however, that “in no way will this offer create a conflict of interest” (“‘para nada’ esa oferta lo pondrá ante un conflicto de intereses.”).

Over the weekend there were mass protests against the approval of Hidroyaen throughout Chile, with more than 30,000 people gathering in Plaza Italia, and other protests taking place (some with rocks thrown at federal police) in Valdivia, Temuco, Concepción, and Valparaiso. At latest report 67 protestors have been detained in Santiago. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protests.

Goldborne, one of the most popular politicians in Chile after his role in overseeing the 2010 Copiapó mining accident rescue, told TVN in a television interview on Sunday that “the protests should not be considered in our decision-making,” (Las protestas no deberían ser consideradas en nuestro accionar”).