MAC: Mines and Communities

Pasuca Lama: Chile And Argentina

Published by MAC on 2006-05-27
Source: Mines and Communities


Comment by MAC's Latin America Editor, Luis Claps

27th May 2006

Many people thought that, after the approval by Chilean environmental authorities of the Environmental Impact Assessment presented by Barrick Gold, the battle to halt the Pascua-Lama project had ended. But it is not so. The popular movements against Barrick Gold continue advancing on various fronts, on both sides of the Andes.

In Chile, over 40 complaints were filed to the EIA, almost all of them accepted by the CONAMA. There has also been a series of legal and administrative actions filed by individuals, both before and after the approval given by EIR,. Other legal actions have been underway for a long time, such as the case of Jorge Lopehandia in Canada. There have also been legal submissions aimed at nullifying the approval given by the EIR, as well as challenging aspects of the Bilateral Treaty for Mining Integration and Complementation, between Chile and Argentina, which could delay the project. Finally there has been a ruling by the General Board of Waters, which invalidates the legality of the accord signed by the Board of Oversight of the Río Huasco and its Tributaries, and the mining company Minera Nevada, which could also have serious repercussions for Barrick.

In Argentina, at least ten objections to the EIA have been presented and whose time limit for approval has not been reached. There are also legal actions being carried out. Some days ago, the Electoral Tribunal of the Province of San Juan prohibited, for the second time, the carrying out of a popular referendum over the question of YES or NO to large-scale mining in the department of Calingasta, a referendum supported by the local mayor. Some sources suggest that the Provincial government pressured the Tribunal, as it did the year before, to prevent the referendum from being carried out. A forum on the environment and natural resources will take place at the end of June, in the town of Jáchal, located at the foot of the Andes.

The struggle has not ended, on the contrary.

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