MAC: Mines and Communities

Argentine Government Zooms-in on large scale mining

Published by MAC on 2020-11-18
Source: Radio 3, Adnsur, Econojournal

Canada´s Yamana Gold and Pan American Silver are leading the charge in Chubut.

Chubut Governor participation in the presentation of a National Strategic Mining Plan last week triggered massive protests in Esquel, Puerto Madryn and other cities in the Patagonian province. The presentation, carried out on-line through the Zoom platform, was led by the National Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas, and the National Secretary of Mining, Alberto Hensel.

On video, Governor Arcioni introduced his mining zoning proposal, which is said to allow mining to go ahead in the central meseta region, but maintaining the ban on the Cordillera region. The zonification would also exclude mining activities from the proximities of the Chubut river, the only superficial course of water that crosses the vast territory from West to East year-round. However, the project has not been officially presented to the Legislature yet.

Four police raids and some brief detentions followed the protests, as a group of demonstrators damaged the Government offices in Rawson after one of the marches. The Kurrú Leufú Assembly in Río Negro strongly condemned the persecution and arbitrary detentions, and various regional, national and international organizations echoed the repulse.

Backed by over 30,000 signatures, the Union of Assemblies of Communities of Chubut (UACCh) presented the Second Legislative Initiative bill at the Electoral Court last month, aimed at establishing parameters of environmental sustainability in mining operations and reinforcing a provincial ban on open-pit mining passed in 2003.

Amid the pandemic, Yamana announced in April that it had agreed to let billionaire Eduardo Elsztain acquire a 40% stake in the Suyai gold project in Esquel. Since it purchased the Navidad project from Aquiline Resources in 2012, Pan American Silver has been a backstage lobbying company aimed at conditioning the Chubut Legislature to repeal the provincial mining ban. The Navidad silver-lead-zinc mine project is located in the central meseta region, inhabited by dispersed Mapuche-Tehuelche communities.

"If mining companies enter Chubut, sooner or later the Cordillera will fall" stated Pablo Lada, spokesperson of the Chubut Anti-Nuclear Movement.

See also:
2020-10-20 30,000 signatures for the protection of water in Chubut, Argentina
2020-09-29 Patagonia updates: 25,228 and counting
2016-09-15 Macri and Beaty against the law in Chubut, Argentina
2016-09-06 Is mining in Argentina going Back to the Pact?

"If mining companies enter Chubut, sooner or later the Cordillera will fall"

Pablo Lada, spokesperson of the Chubut Anti-Nuclear Movement, analyzed the declarations of Governor Arcioni, who presented his mining zonification project arguing that "the Chubut River and the Cordillera will not be touched." The activist stated that "the Governor is choosing the path of authoritarianism."

Radio 3

November 13, 2020

“An issue of this tenor cannot be treated in a virtual session, no way, this is authoritarianism, being legal or not, I do not think it is legitimate, at least for the wider society, which deserves a true and sincere public debate before allowing this to go ahead”, Lada said.

“Thousands of people, families, youth, marched yesterday, and these marches will continue, the same happened in Mendoza at the end of last year. In less than 24 hours, we managed to surround the Chiquichano Lagoon in a great symbolic embrace march, something impressive. Today we are going to the Legislature, it is a social movement in crescendo, and we will call for daily marches if the Government's zonification project is finally presented," he added.

"The Governor says that the Chubut River will not be touched, but the truth is that there are uranium projects proposed on the banks of the river and nothing has been said that uraniferous mining would not go through that zoning," he warned.

“We allow ourselves to doubt about the supposed lack of connection between the Sacanana Aquifer and the Chubut River Basin, and we can say this simply because many hydrogeologists have indicated that they connect in the Paso de Indios area. The basins are not separated hydrologically, only morphologically," he stated.

“On the other hand, this is another slogan by the Governor, because he knows that there is no social license, that there is an enormous rejection from society, and he believes that in that way he could justify the opening of mining by saying the Chubut River will not touched, because he knows that there is a very great concern”.

"With the opening of mining, it will only be a matter of time... when you surrender a portion of the territory to this business, the very force of having the mining companies within will make the Cordillera fall sooner or later. I firmly believe that they are looking forward to this to happen," he said.

"The opening is indiscriminate, it is not even about the Navidad Project, which is a very large lead project, one of the most harmful metals. There is ample evidence of the impacts of lead on human health, especially on children” he raised with concern.

"However, the path that the Governor is choosing is the path of authoritarianism, what he is doing is very painful," he questioned.

“In my humble opinion, the ruling class has to get together and discuss another productive model, they do not sit down to figure out how to get out of the crisis we are in, generating sustainable work, not by this economy of enclave, extractivism, a vacuum of resources and common goods, and that it will leave nothing to the Province other than big holes and toxic sludge”, he criticized.

“The political sectors need to sit down and listen to the ideas that are going on around and try to figure out a sustainable productive plan over time. Chubut has everything, and that is the most painful; it has energy, it has lands, clean water, but words are completely devalued in Chubut politics,” he stressed.

Kurrú Leufú Assembly repudiates persecution, raids and arbitrary detentions in Chubut

November 14, 2020

Mega-mining does not have a social license and the Patagonian people state this on the streets. The Government and companies responses has been a violent escalation consisting of stigmatization of "ecoterrorism" in the media, delegitimization of referents and even arrests and raids today. Given this, we express all our solidarity and support to the bill presented by popular initiative that gathered 30,196 signatures, a truly democratic process of a people that once again affirms: No means No!

Chubut water is not negotiable! If they touch one of us, they touch us all!

Asamblea por el Agua y la Tierra de Las Grutas
Movimiento Antinuclear Rionegrino
Asamblea Permanente por el Río Colorado
Asamblea de Vecinos Autoconvocados de Viedma y Patagones
Asamblea No Nuclear de Viedma y Patagones
Asamblea Neyen Mapu de Valcheta
Asamblea por el Agua y los Territorios Wawel Niyeo
SER Comarca Andina
Asamblea Socio Ambiental de Cipolletti
Ambiente en Lucha de Bariloche
Red Ecosocialista
APCA Allen
Asamblea por el Agua y la Tierra Fiske Menuco
Árbol de Pie, Bariloche

Chubut: Four raids after minor damages at Governor Office in Rawson

Police officers carried out the proceedings after the acts of violence and damages against Government offices by some protesters in Rawson. Four people linked to the investigation were identified and diverse elements were seized. -rawson/

November 13, 2020

RAWSON (ADNSUR) - Police officers carried out four raids this afternoon in the provincial capital and identified some of the protesters who caused damage to the Governor office last Tuesday.

The proceedings were carried out around 5:30 p.m. by officials from the Rawson Police Investigations Division, with the collaboration of personnel from Special Laws Division, Operations section and the local Police Station.

In the raids, carried out within the framework of the legal case initiated after the incidents registered in several public buildings - that of Governor Mariano Arcioni among them -, some elements of interest to the case were seized, which are said to allow the authorities to continue their investigations.

The incidents were caused after a large protest in the Legislature and subsequent march towards Government House. Excesses started after 1 pm: stones were thrown at some windows and curtains were set on fire at an office.

"A criminal case has been initiated and there is an ongoing investigation to establish the identity of the perpetrators," a Police spokesperson said.

Governor Arcioni: Chubut's “Historic Opportunity” to Advance Mining Development in the Central Plateau

He raised it at the presentation of the Argentine Mining Strategic Plan that took place last Thursday, November 12, with the participation of the National Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas; the National Secretary of Mining, Alberto Hensel; and governors of various provinces.

Agostina Visconi

Friday, November 13, 2020

Governor Mariano Arcioni participated this Thursday in the presentation of the Argentine Mining Strategic Plan, in which he spoke of the "historical opportunity that the country and Chubut in particular have to leave yes or no to discuss how to do mining."

The presentation, made through the Zoom platform, was led by the Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas, and by the Secretary of Mining, Alberto Hensel, among others.

For Chubut, in addition to Arcioni, were the Minister of Hydrocarbons and president of the Federal Mining Council (COFEMIN), Martín Cerdá; the head of the Provincial Water Institute (IPA), Gerardo Bulacios, and the communal presidents of Telsen, Gastre and Gan Gan.

Arcioni was the first of the five governors who gave brief speeches and expressed "gratitude for allowing the province of Chubut to participate in the launch of the Strategic Plan for Argentine Mining Development."

"We are looking to incorporate new production matrices in our province," he emphasized. And he commented: “Chubut is very rich in terms of natural resources. We have been demonstrating this since 1907, when oil was discovered in Comodoro Rivadavia.”


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