MAC: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2007-05-29


Lafkenche Communities File Action for Protection in Response to Mining Request for Concessions, Exploration and Operation in Lake Lleu Lleu


29th May 2007

Source: Communications Lafkenche Identity

A protection order has been filed in response to the solicitation for mining concessions, exploration and operations which has been filed in the Territory of Indigenous Communities of the lake Lleu Lleu. The case was filed on Monday May 28 in the Tribunals of Justice of Concepción, Chile by a group of Lafkenche leaders. Representatives of eleven communities of the province of Arauco, from the communes of Contulmo, Cañete and Tirúa are supporting this actions, finding it is necessary to raise their voices when they see their rights threatened. They say that mining activities in lake Lleu Lleu represent a threat to Mapuche culture, not only because they will alter the natural equilibrium of Mapuche territories, but because it also puts into jeopardy sites of sociocultural interest and puts in risk the economic activities that sustain many Lafkenche territories. In the presentation of the court case, a demonstration was carried out, incorporating Mapuche music and dance, and a letter was delivered to the governor of the Eighth Region, Maria Soledad Tohá, informing her of the abuses which are going to be happening to the Lafkenche communities of lake Lleu Lleu.

Iván Carilao, leader of Territorial Identity Lafkenche, says that a campaign of collective defense of the territory should be carried out. "No to the installation of mining companies in lake Lleu Lleu," he emphasized. He also pointed out that a similar situation is occurring in Carahue, where a proposal has been made to create a local roundtable where these problems can be dealt with within the communities and strategic alliances can be sought. He said that in the zone of Lleu Lleu has been designated as an Area of Indigenous Development by law 19.253, which states: "These will be territorial spaces in which organisms of the State administration will focus their actions in the benefit of equilibrated development of the indigenous people and their communities." For this, it is a "tremendous contradiction" what is currently happening in the lake Lleu Lleu.

The protection order was filed by five representatives: Roberto Garrido Catril, Lorenza Ñancomillapi, Martiniano Nahuelhual, Carlos Muñoz Huenumán, and Julio Nahuelhuel, who agree upon the necessity of protecting this location which is so important to the development of the Lafkenche communities. Lorenza Ñancomillapi valued the defense of the environment which is being carried out, and said that the installation of transnational mining firms which attack the surface and underground of Mapuche lands shows lack of respect and an abuse of the rights of people to live in peace with nature. "We are unprotected," he added.

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