MAC: Mines and Communities

Greenpeace target Pascua Lama in Argentina

Published by MAC on 2011-03-01
Source: Blogs,

According to latest reports Greenpeace activists have been detained by the police in San Juan province.

See previous MAC post on anti mining protests in San Juan: Anti-Mining Protests in San Juan, Argentina (2005)

For related story also see: Argentinian judge grants glacier law exemptions for Pascua Lama


Greenpeace activists demonstrate to enact the Glacier's Law

23 February 2011

About fifty protesters, including members of Greenpeace, set up a camp on the access road to Barrick Gold's Veladero and Pascua Lama mines. The protest was done to promote the Glacier Law enacted last October.

Greenpeace protestors in San Juan
Greenpeace protestors in San Juan - Photo: Greenpeace

Police personnel acted to clear the road, breaking and removing the chains placed by protesters to remove the container that were blocking the entrance.

"I do not think violent situations would arise, because even when we began to cut the chains they did not object" police sources told to Diario de Cuyo.

A Greenpeace spokesman reported that the arrest of the organization's political director, Eugenia Testa, was ordered by the Second Circuit Court of Jachal. She was held due to an alleged violation of Article 194 of the Penal Code that punishes the block of public transportation".

The protest was held in the department Iglesia, of San Juan, near the town of Tudcum over 160 kilometers from the provincial capital.

The company involved, Barrick Gold, issued a press release stating that "in this case, Greenpeace is the one who is not complying with the law and is disregardinf of the most basic constitutional rights of every citizen, by blocking access to a private road leading to Veladero and Pascua Lama in San Juan province".

The company added that "our activities will not take place on glaciers and we have to reaffirm that, we carry out mining responsibly in Argentina and throughout the world, our behavior is understood to be sustainable and in harmony with the environment".

Greenpeace Argentina manager arrested for blocking access to Barrick Gold mines


24 February 2011

The director of Greenpeace Argentina, Eugenia Testa, was arrested today in northwest Argentina where the environmental group blocked access to two mines of Canada's Barrick Gold to demand implementation of a Glacier Protection Act, the organization reported.

Eugenia Testa of Greenpeace sits in a police jail
Eugenia Testa of Greenpeace sits in a police jail
Photo: Reuters / Ho New

By order of the Court of the province of San Juan, police arrested and intimidated Testa and evicted fifty activists involved in the protest.

Testa is accused of violating the penal code of the province, which punishes those who hinder public transport, police sources stated.

Greenpeace held two camps at the entrances to the mines of Veladero and Pascua Lama, in the province of San Juan. Greenpeace claims the enforcement of protection of glaciers, which prohibits mining in areas with ice fields, is being blocked by Barrick Gold.

The rule was adopted last year by Parliament, but its execution is suspended for precautionary measures, as presented by the government of San Juan, pending a Supreme Court decision *.

The campaigns director of Greenpeace in Argentina, Juan Carlos Villalonga, reported that "Barrick is the main promoter of the blocking of the Glaciers Law".

The Canadian company said in a statement that it "meets and fully enforces all applicable laws and the necessary industry and environmental approvals for the development of their activities."

Greenpeace accused the company of not "following the law" and blocking access to mines "in disregard of the most basic constitutional rights of every citizen."

"Barrick rejects attitudes like those of the NGO, because they forcibly prevent the development of a lawful and authorized activities such as ours. Barrick is willing to listen to all opinions, provided they are channeled within a framework of peace and respect rule of law, "the company said.

He added that their activities "have no place on glaciers" and reaffirmed that their activities are done "in a sustainable manner and in harmony with the environment."

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