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Canadian greens protest Noranda aluminum smelter

Published by MAC on 2003-11-10

Canadian greens protest Noranda aluminum smelter

Reuters Environmental News Search

November 10, 2003

Toronto - Standing in front of a 12-foot cardboard dam with the words "Noranda in Patagonia, no dam way" painted in bold, Greenpeace activists protested outside the mining firm's offices on Thursday against its planned hydro-powered aluminum smelter in Chile.

Wearing hard hats and jumpsuits, about 10 protestors handed passersby leaflets calling on the Toronto-based miner to abandon its plam to develop the smelter and three hydroelectric plants in Chile's Patagonia province. Four musicians played Chilean music.

Noranda Inc. (NRD.TO) suspended work on the $3 billion Alumysa development earlier this year amid a storm of objections from Chilean salmon farmers, politicians and citizens who say the venture will destroy the area's pristine beauty and the livelihood of thousands.

"It's another one of their big mega-projects that would do environmental damage...We're losing the battle to protect the rainforest," Peter Tabuns, Greenpeace director for Canada, told Reuters outside Noranda's offices in Toronto's financial district.

Greenpeace also handed over a document to Brascan Corp. (BNNa.TO:) that detailed Noranda's "appalling record of environmental contamination and illegality". Brascan owns 42 percent of the aluminum, copper and nickel producer.

Noranda spokesman Dale Coffin denied the allegations, saying the miner always maintained solid environmental management practices and operated at the highest standards.

He said two factors were holding up the Alumysa project: Noranda needed approval from the Chilean government on an environmental impact study for the project and it needed a foreign partner to help shoulder the hefty start-up costs. "Right now neither one of those components are advancing," he said, adding that there was no time frame on the project.

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