MAC: Mines and Communities

Argentinian judge grants glacier law exemptions for Pascua Lama

Published by MAC on 2010-11-08
Source: Buenos Aires Herald, Reuters

Less than twenty four hours after a legal presentation by the mining industry, an Argentinian judge has suspended a number of clauses in the recently-passed national glaciers' protection Act.

The judge's action is clearly aimed at facilitating construction of the much-delayed Pascua Lama gold mine.

See: Argentinian lawmakers pass glacier protection law


San Juan judge suspends glaciers law

Case might 'end up at Supreme Court'

Buenos Aires Herald

2 November 2010

San Juan province Federal Judge Miguel Angel Gálvez ruled in favor of a precautionary measure and suspended a number of clauses of a law to protect glaciers promoted by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and recently passed by Congress, as he considered that San Juan holds rights to its natural resources and the final call relies on the provincial government.

Furthermore, the head of the San Juan Mining Chamber, Jaime Bergé, told reporters that after Gálvez's ruling, "the issue might end up at the Supreme Court."

Meanwhile, the lawyer of the AOMA Argentine Mining Labour Association, Javier Cámpora, said the judge's ruling represents "the recognition of the province's autonomy," adding that on this matter they count with the "unconditional support of Governor José Luis Gioja."

"It was the very same Gioja who asked us not to let him alone on this matter as he considers that it doesn't only affect the mining industry but the entire people of San Juan," Cámpora concluded.

Argentine judge bars some glacier-protection rules


2 November 2010

BUENOS AIRES - An Argentine judge has ruled that key articles of a glacier protection law cannot be applied in San Juan province, where Barrick Gold Corp is building a large mine, an official news agency said on Tuesday.

Mining industry analysts had warned that the new law could hinder construction of Barrick's Pascua Lama mine, although the company says the ore body it has permission to mine does not lie under a glacier.

The glacier protection law bans mining and oil drilling on glaciers and the areas surrounding them.

San Juan federal Judge Miguel Angel Galvez, ruling on a complaint presented by mining industry groups, suspended the application of six key articles of the law in the Andean province, the judiciary's news agency said.

Daily La Nacion quoted him as saying provincial governments had the constitutional right to decide how to manage their natural resources.

The judge suspended the article banning activities that could affect glaciers as well as the part of the law that defines glaciers.

President Cristina Fernandez vetoed a similar law two years ago on the grounds it would hamper growth of provincial economies, causing controversy in a country where anti-mining sentiment is strong. The new law was passed in September.

Barrick, which also runs the Veladero mine in San Juan, said it was not surprised by the federal judge's ruling.

"We were not surprised by this decision given the province already has legislation in place that protects glaciers to which Barrick is in full compliance," company spokesman Rodrigo Jimenez said. (Reporting by Luis Andres Henao; Editing by David Gregorio)

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