MAC: Mines and Communities

Gen. Director Of Waters Questions Protocol Signed Between Huasco Oversight Board And Barrick Gold

Published by MAC on 2006-05-05
Source: Elmostrador

General Director of Waters Questions Protocol Signed Between Huasco Oversight Board and Barrick Gold

5th May 2006

Issuing a statement of unknown consequences for Barrick Gold`s mining project Pascua-Lama, the Chilean General Commission of Waters (DGA) of the Ministry of Public Works, has declared that the Oversight Board of the Río Huasco and Its Tributaries overstepped its legal boundaries in the signing of a Mitigation Agreement with the mining company Minera Nevada, subsidiary of the multinational Canadian Barrick Gold.

The resolution, issued in mid-April, is the product of a presentation carried out in September 2005 by the Clinic of Actions of Public Interest and Human Rights of the University of Diego Portales, who represented the indigenous Diaguita community of Los Huascoaltinos who have asked that the State declare the agreement illegal.

The DGA declared the agreement null, as it corresponds to an agreement made between private parties and not an adminstrative act of the State, and the DGA recognized its oversight over the Oversight Board, in concordance with the laws of the Water Codes. By virture of this, the commission established that the Board of Oversight of the Huasco River is not authorized to sign agreements as they did without the approval of its members in an extraordinary general assembly, which was not carried out according to the guidelines presented by the Board to the DGA.

The agreement in question was signed on June 30, 2005, and calls for, among other things, the transferrence of U$60 million during a time period of 20 years, with the goal of compensating for the potential damages and adverse effects, direct and indirect, which could result from the carrying out of the mining project Pascua Lama. The agreement was held by the Regional Environmental Commission (COREMA) as one of the principal reasons for their approval of the mining initiative.

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