The State Party submitted its report on 8 April 2008. It addressed the issues identifed by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007):
Structural consolidation programme for 30 main projects:
At the end of March 2008, work on the first stage of the Priority Interventions Programme was completed. This stage was to survey nine of the priority properties, propose emergency work, and execute that work, under the supervision of the National Monuments Council. This work was financed within the 2007 budget of the National Monuments Council and executed by the Saltpeter Museum Corporation at a cost of 29,988,000 Chilean pesos (around USD 61,840). The second stage of the Priority interventions programme is currently out for tender. This includes:
a) Developing a diagnosis, analysis and design for the structural consolidation of the remaining 19 properties envisaged in the Priority interventions programme, and formulating proposals and budget for each property;
b) Developing a proposal for authenticity and integrity indicators as well as for the state of conservation required for the property;
c) Studying the structural condition of the buildings at the site and their building materials.
This second phase will be financed by World Heritage Fundand National Monuments Council funds. The World Heritage Committee approved an International Assistance Request to finance the elaboration of recordsand intervention projects for 19 out of the 29 properties considered in the Priority Interventions Programme.
The structural consolidation of the first nine buildings is the fundamental reference point for the future consolidations still to be undertaken. The works executed are said to safeguard the integrity and authenticity of the buildings and guarantee their preservation. The buildings withstood an earth tremor on 14 November 2007, due to the works undertaken. After the earth tremor a specialist was asked to conduct technical reports on the structural state and the construction of two buildings: the general store of the Humberstone Saltpeter Works and the surgery of the Santa Laura Saltpeter Works. The State Party’s report indicated that it hopes to continue with this work throughout 2008.
Specific regulations of the buffer zone:
The aim is to integrate the directives and parameters for the buffer zone as established in the management plan within the Municipality Zoning Plan of Pozo Almonte. The State Party reported that during 2007, the Municipality Zoning Plan had been submitted to the Environmental Impact Evaluation System, as established under Act 19300, but that little progress has been made.
Alternate route for the road A-16:
The State Party reported that the Concessions Department of the Ministry of Public Works had provided a study and proposal for an alternative layout of road A-16, undertaken by a private company. Taking into account the concerns expressed by the World Heritage Committee, as well as the requirements of the national bodies involved in the conservation of this site, the Concessions Department of the Ministry of Public Works has produced a layout plan for the southern area of the property, which proposes relocating the connection to road-5 further south. This solution would enable the Saltpeter works that are currently divided by road A-16 to be regrouped. It will provide access to its current use as the site museum and preserve the desert landscape to the north, providing an unspoiled view of the unique environment.
The National Monuments Council has approved the proposal to become a preliminary project during 2008 and to be further submitted to the Environmental Impact Evaluation System (Act 19300). As part of this process a topographic survey, financed by the National Monuments Council, was made. The survey provides accurate geo-referenced information regarding the limits and concessions of the sites.
In 2007, the Highways Department of the Ministry of Public Works formally issued a total ban on any roadside publicity along road A-16, a decision that is very important for the visual integrity of the site and its buffer zone.
Management plan: implementation and participatory process:
On 3 October 2007, the Saltpeter Museum Corporation in collaboration with the National Monuments Council organized a workshop with the Pampa community to consider the strategic plan for the Saltpeter Museum Corporation and the participation and use of the site by associations. Some 50 participants attended the workshop that was highly valued by the community. It notably studied the museum’s use modalities and conditions; the requirements and description of the interventions to be done on the houses assigned to the Pampa associations; and the site management on the framework of the annual Saltpeter Week celebrations, which attract a large number of visitors including former Saltpeter workers and their families.
Comprehensive study of potential structural risks:
The State Party reported that, within the framework of the Heritage restoration programme, two projects are envisaged for 2008. One of them involves fencing off the boundary around the project works and the second is a structural study of the buildings belonging to the industrial zone of the Humberstone Saltpeter Works.
As explained in the report, this project is the beginning of a long process of consolidation for the whole complex. A comprehensive study of potential structural risks is underway.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the considerable progress made with re-routing the road A-16 and completing the first phase of the Priority interventions programme. They also note that progress is yet to be made on defining controls on the buffer zone, on carrying out a comprehensive structural assessment and defining a detailed costed programme for stabilizing and conserving the remaining priority buildings.