MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Latin American Update

Published by MAC on 2007-01-25


Latin American Update

25th January 2007

Anyone who fondly imagines that Barrick Gold's Pascua:Lama project, straddling the border betwen Cyhile and Argentina, is a done deal should have been disillusioned last week as a large group of dissenters blocked roads leading to the mine site. Forty four peaceful demonstrators ended up in hospital as a result of the violent police response.

Gold prospecting is increasing in Argentina and another campaign organisation has announced a further blockade of Barrick's Famatima project.in La Rioja province.

UK mining companies, Rio Tinto and Cambridge Minerals have joined the ranks of foreign companies - which already includes AngloGold Ashanti - seeking riches in Colombia.

The Colombian coal miners' union, Sintracarbon, is preparing for a strike vote in their negotiations with Cerrejon Coal (owned by Anglo American, BHPBilliton and Xstrata), while the Colombian Congress held nationally-televised hearings on the project, with testimony from. Jaime Deluquez of Sintracarbon and Eder Arregoces, representing the community of Chancleta (which faces destruction as the mine expands). Polo Democratico senator Jorge Robledo also issued a press release about the hearings.

Community consultations are also being planned by mining-affected communities in Peru and Guatemala.

Following a January 5 report by the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala that GoldCorp/Glamis Gold may be severely polluting a major river - thus putting 5,000 people at risk - its author, Flaviano Bianchini, has received threatening telephone calls . According to Amnesty International USA, this may mean his life is in danger - and the human rights group has called for urgent action on Bianchini's behalf.

In this month's Mining Environmental Management magazine, Glamis' manager for Sustainable Development told interviewer, Simon Handlesman:

"When Glamis first started discussing the voluntary principles [on Security and Human Rights], some of the people in the company were surprised to be asked to sign a document that says they were 'not going to kill people and pillage'...[I]f you are in an environment where those kinds of things happen...then you have to be trained or briefed in some ways to be made aware of it."

Adds Mr Handeslman (a researcher on human rights issues in the mining industry): "It is clear to everyone that Glamis has raised the bar for what is acceptable by and for the mining industry in Guatemala" [MEM, January 2007, page 23].

Really?


CHILE

Forty Four Arrested In Violent Removal of Pascua Lama Blockade

News Release - OLCA Communications, Chile

25th January, 2007

More than 80 people peacefully closed the intersection of the roads to Chollay and Conay, in the community of Alto del Carmen, beginning the night of Monday, January 22. The objective of the action was to prevent the entrance of trucks and vehicles of the mining companies that operate there, specially of Barrick Gold "Responsible Mining" for the Pascua Lama project.

The blockade turned back all mining vehicles since this region does not have roads that are adequate for heavy machinery - a situation noted by the Chilean Environmental Commission (CONAMA), which prohibited this type of transport but does not enforce the prohibition.

While this action was undertaken in completely peaceful form, military police special forces arrived from Vallenar at 11am on January 25 to remove the blockaders, in a violent manner, with blows and struggles. 44 people were arrested, including Chilean, Spanish, French and Argentinean citizens. Some were handcuffed (among them Councilman Luis Faura) leaving behind only old people and children from the area.

The prisoners were transferred to Vallenar in 4 light trucks, 1 van, a military police bus, and a commercial bus. They were taken to the hospital to document their injuries at the hands of the police and then to the Third Commisariat of Vallenar. They are due to appear at a show cause hearing where the judge will let them know the charges they were detained for.

The organizations have declared that these actions will be continued in the future, as long as the Huasco Valley is threatened by mining.

For more information (Spanish only): Lucio Cuenca, OLCA Tel: 011 (56-2) 274-5713 http://www.olca.cl


Road occupied in Huasco Valley to protest mining project Pascua Lama

by Maria Jose Martinez

Communications: Citizens Anti Pascua Lama Movement, Chile

23rd January 2007

Neighbors, residents and ecologists in resistance against the mining project Pascua Lama occupied the crossroads between Conay and Chollay beginning January 22, 2007. This is the first of many actions and initiatives within the "Call of Water" actions carried out this weekend in Conay.

This action was carried out to call attention and a permanent alert regarding the seven mining projects which the State has given concessions to in the area, and specifically to show the rejection of the binational mining project Pascua Lama.

In addition to the nonviolent blockade of the road, this action shows opposition to the lack of information shared with residents regarding these issues.

These actions are essential because personnel of Barrick Gold continue to have free access throughout the area of operations despite the fact that their works should be paralySed due to the ongoing legal challenges. The community has made a call for the defense of land, water and life.


ARGENTINA

Highway Blockade in La Rioja, Argentina – Out With Barrick Gold

Press Release, La Rioja

19th January 2007

Famatina Self-Organized Neighbors in Defense of Life - Coordination of Citizens Assemblies for Life - Self-Organized Neighbors of Chañarmuyo - Self-Organized Neighbors of Pituil - Self-Organized Neighbors of Los Sauces

The Famatina Self-Organized Neighbors in Defense of Life, the Coordination of Citizens Assemblies for Life, Self- Organized Neighbors of Chañarmuyo, Self-Organized Neighbors of Pituil, Self-Organized Neighbors of Los Sauces, meeting in assembly on Friday, January 19, 2007 at 8pm, announce that:

In the face of the indifference demonstrated by our elected representatives on many occasions, when presented with our proposed law which would prohibit open-pit mining with the use of cyanide and other toxic substances and the indiscriminate use of our water resources,

We Resolve: To carry out a blockade of the National Route #38 at the locality of Patquia in the department of Independencia, 70km from the Provincial capital of La Rioja, on January 29 of this year beginning at 8:00am.

Towards this end, we invite all to accompany and join with us, so that together we can demonstrate in defense of our lives, the lives of our future generations and our natural resources.

Barrick Gold Out of Famatina, San Juan, Chile and Peru! Out with sold-out politicians and those who would sell our lands and heritage.

FAMATINA CANNOT BE TOUCHED!

ARGENTINA, HELP YOUR PEOPLES!


Gold rush gathers speed in Argentine Andes

Reuters

22nd January 2007

Argentina's gold production could double in the coming years as mines including Barrick's vast Pascua Lama start operating, but the metals boom faces strong opposition by anti-mining campaigners.

From the snow-capped Andes in the north to the southern Patagonian plains, miners are buying up properties and drilling for gold in the South American country - which currently has just three significant gold mines and several large projects due to begin production by 2010.

High global metals prices and the sharp devaluation of the Argentine peso in 2002 have drawn foreign investors to this little-exploited mining destination, where the center-left government is widely seen as pro-mining.

However, local campaign groups have already scuttled one major gold project and industry leaders see them as the biggest challenge to expansion in the vast nation, better known for beef and red wine than gold and copper.

Green campaigners are especially critical of gold mining, saying it harms the environment through blasting and cyanide leaching for a frivolous product. But they also accuse foreign miners of meddling in politics and failing to contribute to local communities.

"It's not just an environment issue," said Luis Manuel Claps, who edits anti-mining Web site Oro Sucio (Dirty Gold). "Big-scale mining projects don't benefit the communities that live nearby ... We want the mining companies out."

Miners say they cannot risk losing financing by causing environmental damage and say ignorance about the industry has been the cause of opposition.

"We all need to be environmentalists, but with balance and good sense. Some of these environmentalists are extremists," said Martin Dedeu, president of the Argentine Chamber of Mining Companies (CAEM).

The strength of anti-mining sentiment, which led residents to vote against Meridian Gold Inc.'s Esquel project in Chubut province in 2003, has grown in tandem with investment that reached a record $1,3-billion last year and is seen by the government at $6-billion by 2010.

Almost all of that will be spent on developing about half a dozen new mines and on exploration, and Argentina's relatively modest production of precious metals is set to take off as those projects begin work.

Argentina was the world's No. 18 gold producer in 2005, according to precious metals consultancy GFMS. Figures distributed by the mining chamber say the country earned $424-million from gold exports last year, up from 2005's $111-million due to higher prices and greater production.

And that output looks set to rise further.

"Calculating that Pascua Lama will have started production, I'd say that to start with (output in 2010) would be double," said Celeste Gonzalez, director of Buenos Aires-based Panorama Minero magazine.

Argentina's biggest primary gold mine is Barrick's $540-million Veladero, which lies in the province of San Juan not far from where construction will begin on the company's Pascua Lama project that straddles the border with Chile.

Pascua Lama, which has proven and probable gold reserves of about 18-million ounces, is set for production in 2009.

The other two gold mines are Bajo de la Alumbrera, majority-owned by Swiss-based Xstrata, and Cerro Vanguardia, run by AngloGold Ashanti.

Several smaller projects are moving closer to construction and a scattering of early exploration projects are adding to the gold rush feel.

"I think junior mining and exploration companies ... see Argentina as an underdeveloped resource, and there's a lot of potential for gold in this particular region," said Jonathan Smith, investor relations manager at U.S.-based HuntMountain Resources, which this month bought a gold property site in Santa Cruz province.

While mining industry leaders acknowledge the strong resistance to mining in provinces such as Chubut and Mendoza, they say growing investment in exploration points to longer-term expansion.

"Beyond the problems and headaches we're going to keep on having in the next two or three years, this is a sector with a very important capacity to develop," Dedeu said. "We don't have a mining culture, and that's something we're trying to encourage."


COLOMBIA

STRIKE IMMINENT AT EL CERREJON

JUNTA DIRECTIVA NACIONAL, SINTRACARBÓN
BOLETÍN DE PRENSA No.DPP044 -23-01-07

23rd January 2007

In spite of the Cerrejón mine's enormous profits in recent years, with the selling price of coal over $60 (USD) a ton, and with 28 million tons of coal in sales last year, the company has refused to come to a negotiated agreement with our union. During 45 days of negotiations the Sintracarbón negotiating committee has reiterated its desire to come to an agreement that would satisfy the workers' needs as expressed in our bargaining proposal.

Before the workers, the Guajira community, the Colombian people, and the international community, we wish to denounce the Cerrejón management's intransigence, arrogance, and lack of will to negotiate. If we find ourselves on the verge of a strike, Cerrejón alone is responsible for whatever consequences result from its enormous impact and magnitude. We also hold the company's negotiator Marcos Mejía Estrada responsible for this situation. His grotesque attitude and lack of will to negotiate, and the intransigent positions he constantly adhered to during the negotiating process, are what prevented us from arriving at an agreement. His actions are in large part responsible for the consequences of the work stoppage at Cerrejón.

During the entire negotiating period Cerrejón has said nothing but NO to the needs that our union has expressed.

• NO to a just and well-deserved wage increase for workers who spend 18 hours a day in the company's service, and who have seen their income fall as a result of Laws 50 and 789. As of now some 700 workers are virtually without economic resources, and receive only 100,000 pesos at the end of the month.

• NO to prepaid health benefits, saying that we should have to pay. They ignore the fact that our health problems do not come from our homes, they are a product and result of our work. And that they incur very high costs that we are now obligated to pay ourselves.

• NO to the issue of contracted and temporary workers. The company wants to continue exploiting these workers by paying them miserable wages, and violating their fundamental rights to freedom of association, collective bargaining, and union rights. The company uses the subcontracting system as an alternative to avoid directly employing workers.

• NO to educational benefits for workers' children. The privatization of the country's higher education system and the high costs of education make higher or university education impossible for our children.

• NO to the problems of the communities in the area of the Cerrejón coal complex. The company denies the environmental and socio-economic effects it has had on these communities of the living dead, which lack the minimal conditions necessary for survival. The company is violating their fundamental rights, including the right to collective negotiation as established by international law.

• NO to additional bonus days.

• NO to compensation for Law 789 losses

• NO to the peso-per-ton bonus

Faced with the unequivocal "no" from the Cerrejón company, Sintracarbón continued to demonstrate its desire to negotiate and to sign an acceptable collective bargaining agreement. But the company's intransigence and arrogance leaves us no alternative but a strike. Our union has the will, the capacity, and the strength to carry it out.

¡SI A LA HUELGA NOS LLEVAN A LA HUELGA NOS VAMOS!

¡POR NUESTRO JUSTO PLIEGO DE PETICIONES!

¡UNIDAD ORGANIZACIÓN Y LUCHA!


"RENEGOTIATE CONTRACTS WITH COAL MULTINATIONALS AND DON'T SIGN NEW ONES", SAYS SENATOR ROBLEDO

Press statement from the office of Senator Robledo, 19 January 2007; translation is by Avi Chomsky of Salem State College, Massachusetts, USA.

The contracts between the Colombian government and Drummond, Glencore, and the owners of Cerrejon should be renegotiated because they contain provisions that are unfair and highly damaging to the national interest, stated Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo in the Public Hearing on "Coal, Mining, and Energy," called by the Colombian Senate that took place today (Friday, January 19) in the Capitol. Robledo also asked that no new contracts be signed until the damages caused by existing contracts with Cerrejon Zona Norte, El Paso, and Jagua de Ibirico in recent decades can be fully assessed.

The Polo Democratico spokesperson denounced the way that Colombian legislation has been modified to leave mining, hydrocarbons, and energy, in the hands of foreign capital. The situation is extremely serious, given that over half of Colombia's exports, over 9 billion dollars in 2005, came from that sector.

What will Colombia receive from its own non-renewable resources? It's a crucial question, Robledo said, because what you can see in La Guajira and Cesar is extreme poverty. According to a study by the National University, the State Take (what the government receives) from petroleum, 50.64%, is the worst in the world. Robledo also protested the fact that royalties on coal have been reduced from 15% to between 5 and 10%, which greatly reduces its cost (and benefit), while royalties on gold have been reduced to 4%. The country's mineral wealth is being given away to foreign investors, while the effective tax on big mining, once the exemptions are taken into account, is less than 5%, according to Fedesarrollo. There have been aberrant cases, the Senator declared, like when the DIAN [customs] returned 259 billion pesos to Drummond for the IVA [value-added tax, a form of sales tax].

The Congress promised to study the case of Cerrejon Zona Norte in depth. Cerrejon was sold very cheaply to the three multinationals that now own the complex. Robledo also called attention to the terrible health conditions in the open-pit coal mines, the frequent work accidents, and the use of subcontracting to avoid labor protections and perpetuate low wages.

He said that after working for 38 years for Exxon, the first thing that Hernan Martinez did upon taking up the position of Minister of Mines last summer was to propose the privatization of Ecopetrol. "Dr. Hernan Martinez is not Colombia's Minister of Mines, he is foreign capital's Minister of Mines."

Robledo concluded by affirming that he will continue the struggle for the defense of national interests. "This is a democratic political and economic battle, and we invite Colombians of all political positions to join us to save our country," he concluded. It is not a question of eliminating contracts with foreign capital, he concluded, but rather that we negotiate contracts that serve our national interest.

You can listen to Senator Robledo's comments (in Spanish) by following this link:

http://moir.org.co/index-anterior.php?idcategoria=17120&ts=7d91ad627a00faa683096adf6355d55a&PHPSESSID=d2060665a3e28ad93eb9bb13a6d5d394


Brits poised to blast more Colombian communities?

Rio Tinto recently announced that it is embarking on exploration for thermal and coking coal in Colombia (from which it officially withdrew eight years back).

As a three-person delegation of representatives of communities impacted by BHPBilliton/AngloAmerican/Xstrata's El Cerrejon coal mine tour the UK this week, it's timely to warn of potential new dangers posed by other UK-based mining companies.

Four months ago, during Colombia's second International Mining Fair and Conference, a Rio Tinto representative was quoted as saying:

"I haven't found a more receptive government anywhere in the world. We have had good political support from the local all the way up to the national government."

And Cambridge Minerals Resources managing director claimed (if rather illiterately):

"Colombia could be the last gold rush on the planet."


Mining companies reconsider Colombia

Foreign Direct Investment magazine (FT)

5th October 2006

As the internal security situation improves in Colombia, foreign companies are returning, with mining concerns leading the expedition.

Companies such as Rio Tinto, Cambridge Minerals Resources and Greystar were on hand in Medellin in late September for the second annual International Mining Fair and Conference.

Violence scared off all but the largest coal companies, and for the better part of 40 years the remote areas with the most mining potential were veritable no-go zones.

But the security programme of president Alvaro Uribe, re-elected in May, has made headway in restoring government authority over patches of the country formerly threatened by guerrilla and paramilitary groups.

Mr Uribe attended the event, taking questions from mining professionals and local officials in the audience.

"We are trying to improve the institutional framework [for the mining sector]," he said. The president said he was asking the minister of mining and energy to present an amended mining code to Congress in mid-March.

The packed room, and feedback from multinational attendees, suggests the industry is ready to give Colombia a second look.

Preston Chiaro, chief executive, energy, at Rio Tinto, who travelled from London, told fDi: "We're doing exploration [in Colombia] for a variety of products."

"There are challenges here, but they are challenges we have faced in other parts of the world that we have managed successfully."

The government, he said, had been "extra supportive" of Rio Tinto's activities in the country: "I haven't found a more receptive government anywhere in the world. We have had good political support from the local all the way up to the national government.

"We would have no problem doing business in Colombia if we found deposits of significant size."

UK-based Cambridge Minerals Resources formally launched operations in Colombia eight months ago and has taken over five small but high-grade mines with three more under negotiation. "Colombia is phenomenally well endowed with minerals," said Colin Andrew, managing director.

"There are not many countries where there has not been major exploration of minerals for the past 40 years," he continued.

"Colombia could be the last gold rush on the planet."


PERU

Ayabaca Communities Will Create Community Consultation

Piura, Peru. (FACTORTIERRA)

10th January 2007

Local leaders of communities of the district of Ayabaca have informed FACTORTIERRA that they are seeking to organize a community consultation with the goal of showing that the gold mining project Rio Blanco lacks social license to operate. The decision was taken this past December 23 and ratified on January 6, by the campesino defense patrols who met in the town of Hualvuiv, some 35 kilometers southeast of Ayabaca.

Monterrico Metals has announced plans to initiate operations in 2008. The company has initiated a program of information with coastal communities where a mineral pipeline will be constructed to transport the minerals extracted from the mining region to the port, which could be in Bayovar, in the extreme southwest of Piura. The project has the support of the regional government of Piura, in whose territory live more than 1.6 million persons.

On his part, the President of Peru, Alan Garcia met with Andrew Brisotw, Manager of Operations of Minera Majaz (Monterrico subsidiary), during his recent visit to the region of Piura.


GUATEMALA

Community Consultation for Mining in Concepcion Tutuapa Will Be February 13

By Sander Otten, Diocese Commission of Accompaniment of Communities in Resistance Against Mining
15 January 2007, Diocese of San Marcos, Guatemala

Community leaders and mayors of the 64 communities of the municipality of Concepcion Tutuapa, San Marcos, Guatemala, have decided today to carry out a community consultation regarding the mining activities in their territory. The consultation will take place on Tuesday February 13, 2007 in each of the 64 communities. During the consultation residents will be asked if they are in agreement or not to the exploration and operation of open-pit metals mining in their territory.

The consultation will organized by the Environmental Committee of Concepcion Tutuapa. To this date, support is being offered by the organizations Movimiento de Trabajadores Campesinos MTC (Movement of Campesino Workers), Ajchmol, and the Diocese Commission of Accompaniment of Communities in Resistance Against Mining.


Italian National Flaviano Bianchini, an Environmentalist Threatened in Guatemala (UA 20/07)

URGENT ACTION APPEAL
From Amnesty International USA

26th January 2007

Fear for safety

GUATEMALA: Flaviano Bianchini (m), environmental activist

Environmental activist Flaviano Bianchini has reportedly received a series of anonymous telephone calls, and has been kept under surveillance. Amnesty International believes that his life may be in danger.

Flaviano Bianchini, an Italian national, is working as a volunteer for the Guatemalan environmental group Colectivo MadreSelva, which is investigating the effects of mining on the environment. At a press conference in Guatemala City on 5 January, he presented a report on the contamination allegedly caused by a gold mine to the Tzala River in Sipakapa, San Marcos department. The report alleges that the river, which is the main source of water for indigenous people in the region, has been contaminated with heavy metals. This was reported in the national press the following day.

On 10 January allegedly at a press conference, a government official reportedly told journalists that five criminal charges against Flaviano Bianchini and MadreSelva were going to be presented to the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Two days later Flaviano Bianchini received an anonymous call to his mobile phone from a man who asked repeatedly, Quien es? Quien es? (''Who is it? Who is it?''). On 13 January he received another anonymous call to his mobile phone, from a man who repeated the word Cuidado, cuidado (''Be careful, be careful'') before hanging up.

On 14 and 16 January, he received identical calls. After the second of these calls, when Flaviano Bianchini returned to his home at 8pm he noticed a grey Hyundai car with tinted windows parked directly outside his apartment. He went in, and went up to the roof to look at the car again, but when he got to the roof the car was already pulling away.

On 17 January Flaviano Bianchini received a third identical call. When he left his house at 8.30am the next morning he found the same grey Hyundai car outside. As soon as Flaviano Bianchini opened his front door it drove off.

He received a fourth identical call on 19 January at 4pm. At 6pm, while he was shopping in Guatemala City, he noticed a man dressed in black with a cap pulled down to hide his face. Fearing that he was being followed, he took a roundabout route to the next shop he was going to, but the man allegedly followed him all the way. Flaviano Bianchini remained inside the shop for half an hour, and when he went back out onto the street, the man was gone.

On 21 January Flaviano Bianchini returned to his apartment at around 9pm, and noticed the same grey Hyundai car parked on the corner of his street, level with his apartment block. He went up to the roof to look again, and as before, saw the car pulling away.

On 24 January Flaviano Bianchini returned home at 8pm, and found the same car parked opposite his apartment, which again pulled away as he reached the roof. The next morning he received another anonymous phone call. This time the caller told him, deje de chingar (''Stop fucking around'').

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Flaviano Bianchini has been investigating the effects of mining on the environment in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. On 19 December 2006 the Madre Selva Collective presented a complaint to relevant ministries regarding the alleged contamination of the Tzala River, based on Flaviano Bianchini's study.

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission ordered the government to provide police protection to members of Madre Selva in October 2005, after the organization suffered intimidation, threats and attacks as a result of their work to protect the environment. They have campaigned actively on issues relating to the alleged damaging effects of mining in Guatemala.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
- expressing grave concern for the safety of Flaviano Bianchini;
- calling on the authorities to order a full and prompt investigation into the threatening telephone calls and alleged surveillance made to Flaviano Bianchini;
- urging the authorities to take action to ensure his safety, in strict accordance with his own wishes;
- reminding the authorities that human rights defenders have the right to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

APPEALS TO:
Attorney General and Head of the Public Prosecutor's office:
Lic. Juan Luis Florido
Fiscal General de la Republica y Jefe del Ministerio Publico
Edificio Ministerio Publico
15 Avenida 15-16, Zona 1, Barrio Gerona, 8vo. nivel
Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: 011 502 2411 9124/ 9326
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/Estimado Sr. Fiscal
General

Minister of Interior:
Ing. Carlos Roberto Vielmann Montes
Ministro de Gobernacion
6a. Avenida 13-71, Zona 1,
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Fax: 011 502 2413 8658
Salutation: Dear Minister/Estimado Sr. Ministro

COPIES TO:
Colectivo MadreSelva
3 Calle 2-60, Zona 10, Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA

Ambassador Jose Guillermo Castillo
Embassy of Guatemala
2220 R St. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 745 1908
Email: info@guatemala-embassy.org

To read the current Urgent Action newsletter, go to http://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent/newslett.html

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the Urgent
Action Office if sending appeals after 9 March 2007.


GUATEMALA: Catholic Church denounces mining company

GUATEMALA, Jan 13 (Tierramérica) - The Episcopal Conference of Guatemala (CEG) reported that the Canadian Gold Corp mining company may be polluting the Tzalá river and putting at risk some 5,000 people in the municipality of Sipacapa, on the border with Mexico.

The river water contains 80 times the legal limit of copper, 13 times that of aluminum and 2.5 times that of mangenese, Álvaro Ramazzini, president of the CEG, told Tierramérica.

According to a study carried out by Italian Flaviano Bianchini, of the El Salvador Center for Research on Investment and Trade, there is a process of acid run-off that drains from the mine cut and the waste rock into the river.

But Eduardo Villacorta, Central American executive director for Gold Corp, rejected the study's results because "they were not accompanied by laboratory certificates."

"We have been doing quarterly monitoring analyses since 2002 which say the opposite," he said in a communiqué.


CHILE/ARGENTINA

44 DETENIDOS EN VIOLENTO DESALOJO DE TOMA EN CAMINO A PASCUA LAMA

Chile, Jueves, 25 de enero de 2007
Comunicaciones OLCA

Mas de 80 personas cerraban pacíficamente desde la noche del lunes 22 de enero el camino en la localidad de Chollay y Conay, Comuna de Alto del Carmen. El objetivo de la acción era no permitir el ingreso de camiones y vehículos de las empresas mineras que ahí operan, especialmente de la minera Barrick Gold Responsable del proyecto Pascua Lama. Esta ocupaciòn devolvìa todos los vehículos de uso minero ya que esta zona no tiene vias de acceso aptas para maquinaria pesada, situación advertida por Conama quien prohibió este tipo de transporte pero no realiza ningun tipo de fiscalización.

Mientras esta acción se desarrollaba en forma absolutamente pacifica, a las 11 de la mañana del día 25 de enero llegaron fuerzas especiales de Carabineros, enviados desde Vallenar, a desalojar a las personas que participaban en le control del camino, esto se hizo de forma violenta, con golpes y forcejeos. Se detuvo a 44 personas (ciudadanos chilenos, españoles, franceses y argentinos), algunos fueron esposados (entre ellos el Concejal Luis Faura) dejando fuera sólo a niños y ancianos de la zona.

Los detenidos fueron trasladados en 4 camionetas, 1 furgón, un bus de Carabineros y un bus de recorrido a Vallenar, fueron llevados a constatar lesiones al hospital y luego a la tercera comisería de esa ciudad. Posteriormente serán pasados a la audiencia de control de detención frente al juez de Garantía, momento en que se sabrán los cargos por los que fueron detenidos.

Las organizaciones han declarado que estas acciones se seguiran desarrollando en el futuro, mientras se mantenga la amenaza minera en el Valle del Huasco.


CHILE/ARGENTINA

Cortan camino en Valle de Huasco contra proyecto Pascua Lama

Por María José Martínez
Comunicaciones Movimiento Ciudadano Anti-Pascua Lama
Chile, 23 de enero de 2003

Vecinos, ciudadanos en resistencia al proyecto minero Pascua Lama y ecologistas ocupan el cruce de camino entre Conay y Chollay desde el lunes 22 de enero. Esta es la primera medida de las iniciativas acordadas en el "llamado del agua", actividad realizada el fin de semana en Conay.

Con la acción se busca un llamado de alerta permanente sobre los 7 proyectos mineros que el Estado ha concesionado en la zona y en forma especial por el rechazo al proyecto binacional Pascua Lama.

Además este corte pacífico del camino es un acto de rechazo a la poca información que se le entrega a los ciudadanos sobre estos temas.

Actitud contraria a la que se le tiene al personal de Barrick que sigue teniendo libre acceso a la obra a pesar de que las faenas deberían estar paralizadas por determinaciones legales. Se hace un llamado a la comunidad a la defensa de la tierra, el agua y la vida.


ARGENTINA

CORTE DE RUTA EN LA RIOJA - FUERA BARRICK GOLD

Comunicado de Prensa
La Rioja, Argentina, 19 de enero de 2007

Vecinos de Famatina Autoconvocados en defensa de la VIDA - Coordinadora de Asambleas Ciudadanas por la VIDA - Vecinos Autoconvocados de Chañarmuyo - Vecinos Autoconvocados de Pituil - Vecinos Autoconvocados de Los Sauces

Los Vecinos Autoconvocados de Famatina en Defensa de la VIDA, la Coordinadora de Asambleas Ciudadanas por la VIDA, los Vecinos Autoconvocados de Pituil y Vecinos Autoconvocados de Chañarmuyo; reunidos en asamblea el día viernes 19 de Enero de 2007 a las 20 horas Informamos:

Que ante la indiferencia demostrada por nuestros representantes en reiteradas oportunidades, ante la presentación de nuestro proyecto de ley, donde buscamos prohibir la minería a cielo abierto con lixiviación de cianuro u otras sustancias tóxicas, y la utilización indiscriminada de nuestros recursos hídricos,

Resolvemos:

Realizar un corte en la Ruta Nacional Nª 38, a la altura de la Localidad de Patquia, en el Departamento Independencia (a 70 km de la Ciudad Capital de La Rioja) el día 29 de Enero del corriente año, a partir de las 08:00 horas.

Por lo expuesto, invitamos a que nos acompañen y se sumen, para que juntos nos manifestemos en defensa de nuestra vida, la vida de nuestras futuras generaciones y nuestros recursos naturales.

Fuera criminal Barrick Gold de Famatina, San Juan, Chile y Perú. Fuera políticos entregadores y vende patria de nuestras tierras.

"EL FAMATINA NO SE TOCA" "ARGENTINA, AYUDA A TUS PUEBLOS"


COLOMBIA

INMINENTE HUELGA EN EL CERREJON JUNTA DIRECTIVA NACIONAL

SINTRACARBÓN

BOLETÍN DE PRENSA No.DPP044 -23-01-07

NEGOCIACION COLECTIVA DE TRABAJO PERIODO 2007

Muy a pesar de las grandes utilidades obtenidas en los últimos años por la empresa Cerrejón Llc, propiedad de las multinacionales BHP Billington, Anglo Americam y Xtrata Glencore, donde la tonelada de carbón se ha mantenido por encima de sesenta (60) dólares y con una producción anual en el año 2006 de veintiocho (28) millones de toneladas, no ha sido posible un acuerdo definitivo por la vía de la concertación y el dialogo, después de cuarenta y cinco (45) días de conversaciones y donde la comisión de negociadora de SINTRACARBON, ha manifestado su voluntad y disposición de llegar a un acuerdo que satisfaga las necesidades planteadas por los trabajadores en su justo pliego de peticiones.

Denunciamos ante los trabajadores, comunidad Guajira pueblo Colombiano, y comunidad internacional la intransigencia patronal, la prepotencia y la falta de voluntad para negociar por parte de la empresa Cerrejón Llc, ya que de vernos abocados a un conflicto huelguístico la empresa Cerrejón seria la única responsable de las consecuencias que esta genere por su gran impacto y magnitud, pero tambien hacemos responsable de toda esta situación a Marcos Mejia Estrada negociador de la compañía quien con su actitud grotesca y falta de voluntad para negociar, adoptando posiciones intransigentes muy frecuentemente durante este proceso de negociación, no permitido una salida concertada y será el gran responsable por las consecuencias que la parálisis del complejo carbonífero el Cerrejón acaree.

Prácticamente durante todo este tiempo de negociación la empresa Cerrejón se ha dedicado a decir NO a todas las necesidades planteadas por Sintracarbón:

• NO a un justo y merecido aumento salarial a trabajadores que permanecen alrededor de Dieciocho horas en funcion del trabajo, y cuyo poder adquisitivo se ha visto afectado por las reformas laborales leyes 50 y 789, encontrándose en este momento aproximadamente 700 trabajadores en estado de iliquidez, y que a final de mes no devengan más de cien mil pesos.

• NO a la salud prepagada, por que a los trabajadores nos debe costar, olvidándose que todos los problemas de salud que padecemos los trabajadores no los hemos adquiridos en nuestras casas, si no que son producto y resultado con ocasión del trabajo. Y acaso ese nos es un alto costo que estamos pagando los trabajadores.

• NO a la problemática de los contratistas, que los efectos de la tercerizacion sigan permitiendo que ha estos compañeros se les siga explotando por miserables salarios que devengan y se violen de forma permanente sus derechos, no permitiéndoseles la libertad de asociación, la negociación colectiva ni el libre ejercicio sindical. Utilizando este tipo de contratación como una alternativa para evitar la contratación directa.

• NO a un auxilio educativo justo a los hijos de los trabajadores, ya que por efecto de la privatización de la educación y los altos costos educativos, imposibilitan la educación superior o universitaria de nuestros hijos.

• NO a la problemática de las comunidades aledañas al complejo carbonífero el cerrejón, ni a los efectos ambientales y socioeconómicos causados a estas poblaciones muertas en vida, ya que no tienen en estos momentos las mínimas condiciones necesarias de supervivencia, violándose sus derechos fundamentales, y el derecho a la negociación colectiva tal como lo establecen las leyes internacionales.

• NO a días adicionales de primas.

• NO a la ley 789

• NO al peso por tonelada extraída.

Ante la negativa permanente de la empresa CERREJÓN LLC, SINTRACARBON siempre mostró voluntad de negociación y su intención de firmar una gran convención colectiva de trabajo, pero ante la intransigencia y arrogancia de esta compañía, no nos deja otro camino diferente a la realización de una gran huelga para la cual nuestra organización tiene toda la disposición, capacidad y fortaleza

¡SI A LA HUELGA NOS LLEVAN A LA HUELGA NOS VAMOS!

¡POR NUESTRO JUSTO PLIEGO DE PETICIONES!

¡UNIDAD ORGANIZACIÓN Y LUCHA!


RENEGOCIAR LOS CONTRATOS CON TRASNACIONALES DEL CARBÓN Y NO SUSCRIBIR OTROS NUEVOS, PIDIÓ EL SENADOR ROBLEDO

Oficina de Prensa del senador Jorge Enrique Robledo, Bogotá, 19 de enero de 2007.

Los contratos suscritos por el Estado colombiano con la Drummond, la Glencore y las trasnacionales socias del Cerrejón deben ser renegociados porque contienen cláusulas leoninas y altamente lesivas al interés nacional, demandó el senador Jorge Enrique Robledo en la Audiencia Pública "Carbón, Minería y Energía", convocada por la Comisión Quinta del Senado y que tuvo lugar hoy en el Capitolio Nacional. Robledo pidió además que no se firmen con ellas nuevos contratos mientras no sea cuantificada por los organismos de control la lesión enorme sufrida por Colombia en el Cerrejón Zona Norte y en las minas de El Paso y La Jagua de Ibirico en las últimas décadas.

El vocero de la bancada de Polo Democrático Alternativo en el Senado denunció que la legislación colombiana se ha venido modificando para dejar toda la minería, los hidrocarburos y la energía en manos del capital extranjero. El hecho es de extrema gravedad, puesto que más de la mitad de las exportaciones, 9.420 millones de dólares en 2005, provienen del sector.

¿Cuánto le queda a Colombia de sus propias riquezas no renovables? La pregunta es crucial, dijo Robledo, porque lo que uno ve en La Guajira y el Cesar es miseria extrema. De acuerdo con un estudio de la Universidad Nacional, el State Take del petróleo, lo que toma el Estado, 50,64%, es el peor del mundo. A su vez, también denunció como la regalía del carbón se rebajó de 15% a 5 y 10%, lo que implica un drástico abaratamiento del recurso, y la del oro es apenas del 4%. La riqueza del suelo y el subsuelo se les está regalando a los consorcios extranjeros, pues el impuesto efectivo que se cobra a la gran minería, una vez deducidas las exenciones, es de menos 5%, según Fedesarrollo. Se dan casos tan aberrantes, denunció el congresista, como el que sucedió hace un tiempo, cuando la DIAN le devolvió por IVA a la Drummond la suma de 259 mil millones de pesos.

Prometió que la Comisión Quinta examinará a fondo el caso del Cerrejón Zona Norte, vendido a menos precio a tres multinacionales, hoy socias en el negocio. Robledo llamó también la atención sobre las pésimas condiciones de salubridad en la gran minería del carbón, los frecuentes accidentes de trabajo y el inicuo sistema de contratación por medio de terceros, para evadir las prestaciones y perpetuar los bajos salarios.

Dijo que Hernán Martínez, después de vivir 38 años al servicio de la Exxon, estrenó el cargo de ministro proponiendo privatizar a Ecopetrol. "El doctor Hernán Martínez no es el ministro de Minas de Colombia, sino el ministro de Minas del capital extranjero".

Robledo concluyó aseverando que seguirá en la brega por la defensa del interés nacional. "Se trata de una batalla política y económica de contenido democrático a la cual invito a sumarse a los colombianos de las distintas vertientes para que entre todos salvemos a Colombia", concluyó el congresista del PDA. El problema no es que se hagan negocios con el capital extranjero, sino que se hagan negocios contrarios al interés nacional, concluyó.

Si desea escuchar la intervención del senador Robledo, por favor utilice este vínculo: Que se renegocien los contratos con las trasnacionales de la gran minería

Boletín de prensa

EL LUNES, EN RUEDA DE PRENSA, ROBLEDO Y GERMÁN REYES ASUMEN VOCERÍA DE BANCADA DEL POLO EN SENADO Y CÁMARA


El senador Jorge Enrique Robledo y el representante Germán Reyes asumirán el próximo lunes 22 de enero la vocería de la bancada del Polo Democrático Alternativo en el Senado y la Cámara de Representantes.

Los congresistas citaron al efecto una rueda de prensa, que tendrá lugar en la sede nacional del Polo Democrática Alternativo, Carrera 17-A Nº 37-27, a partir de las 10 y media de la mañana.

Robledo y Reyes darán a conocer la agenda legislativa del Polo Democrática Alternativo para el primer semestre del año 2007 y harán especial referencia a los debates centrales que impulsará la izquierda democrática en las dos cámaras, relacionados con el Tratado de Libre Comercio, la privatización del Seguro Social y el fenómeno de la parapolítica.

El senador Robledo anunció que explicará por qué, de acuerdo con las leyes colombianas y ante las nuevas exigencias de Estados Unidos, que desconocen lo firmado entre los dos países el 22 de noviembre de 2006, no puede adelantarse el trámite de aprobación del TLC en el Congreso colombiano.

Si no desea seguir recibiendo nuestros correos, por favor respóndanos pidiendo su retiro de la lista. Nunca enviamos archivos adjuntos. Visite nuestras páginas http://www.moircolombia.org http://www.moir.org.co/robledo.php y http://www.deslinde.org.co. Si desea publicar nuestros artículos en internet o en cualquier otro medio, incluya nuestras páginas como crédito de los mismos.


PERU

Comunidades de Ayabaca impulsarán consulta comunitaria

FACTORTIERRA. Enero,11,2007.- Las comunidades del distrito de Ayabaca buscan impulsar una consulta comunitaria con la finalidad de demostrar que el proyecto cuprífero Río Blanco carece de licencia social, informaron dirigentes a FACTORTIERRA.

La decisión fue tomada el pasado 23 de diciembre pasado, y ratificada el último 6 de enero, por las rondas campesinas reunidas en el pueblo de Hualcuiy (unos 35 km al SE de Ayabaca).

Parte de la estrategia consiste en recordar a las comunidades el estado de propiedad de Minera Majaz, operadora local de la británica Monterrico Metals, que busca explotar un yacimiento a cielo abierto de cobre y molibdeno.

La empresa ha anunciado que planea iniciar la explotacion en 2008.

Los dirigentes de Ayabaca temen que el proyecto afecte la biodiversidad local de tapires andinos, osos de anteojos y agutíes, que habitan entre los ecosistemas de páramo y bosque de neblina. Dentro de la dinámica de Piura, estos ecosistemas son reconocidos por generar toda el agua limpia de la que se alimentan las tres cuencas que ocupan esta región, a saber: Chira, Piura y Huancabamba.

Aunque el proyecto Río Blanco impactará directamente a la sub cuenca del Chinchipe (norte de Cajamarca), parte de sus operaciones impactarían en las nacientes del rio Aranza, un tributario del Quiroz, en la cuenca del Chira.

Una investigación de FACTORTIERRA, publicada en agosto pasado, determinó que la distancia entre el sitio de operaciones y las nacientes, apenas tiene 10 kilómetros, basados en observaciones de las autoridades locales.

Minera Majaz ha iniciado un programa de informaciòn con comunidades costeras por donde podría pasar un mineroducto con el que buscan transportar el material que extraigan de la zona hacia un puerto, que podría ser Bayóvar, en el extremo sur occidental de Piura, y punto terminal del Oleoducto Norperuano. El proyecto cuenta con el aval del Gobierno Regional de Piura, en cuyo territorio viven más de 1,6 millones de personas.


Consulta por minería en Concepción Tutuapa será el 13 de febrero

Por Sander Otten
Comisión Diocesana de Acompañamiento a Comunidades en Resistencia contra la Minería
15 de enero de 2007, Diócesis de San Marcos, Guatemala

Líderes y alcaldes auxiliares de las 64 comunidades del municipio de Concepción Tutuapa, San Marcos, decidieron hoy tener una consulta comunitaria con respecto a la actividad minera en su territorio. La consulta tendrá lugar el día martes 13 de febrero de 2007 en cada uno de las 64 comunidades. Durante la consulta se preguntará a los y las habitantes si están de acuerdo o no con la exploración y explotación de la minería de metales a cielo abierto en su territorio.

La consulta va a ser organizado por el Comité de Medio Ambiente de Concepción Tutuapa. Hasta la fecha les están apoyando las organizaciones Movimiento de Trabajadores Campesinos (MTC), Ajchmol y la Comisión Diocesana de Acompañamiento a Comunidades en Resistencia contra la Minería.

 

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