MAC: Mines and Communities

Latin America Update

Published by MAC on 2007-06-01

Latin America Update

1st June 2007

Toxic metallic wastes. dumped on Chile by a Swedish company, have been found to have poisoned more than 300 residents of the Chilean mining city of Arica. But, while the state's supreme court has ordered compensation for those affected, the company itself has long quit the scene unscathed.

A new labour federation has been formed by workers sub-contracted to the world's biggest copper producer, Chile's state-owned Codelco.

Health and other social problems in a Honduran community are allegedly linked to the activities of one of the world's biggest gold mining companies, but the government is doing little to recognise, let alone, deal with what one community members dubs "mining terrorism."

The dire impacts of operations by Anglo American subsidiary, Kehdada, in Colombia, have resulted in a growing alliance between the country's Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities.

As Bolivian president, Evo Morales, embarks on a "rationalisation" of the country's mining laws, his intention to bring increased benefits to ordinary people faces many different conflicts of interest.

A natrional "uprising"is declared this week by various organisations in Ecuador which are demanding that all current mining (and other) contracts be cancelled. I Global aluminium companies, Alcoa, Alcan, and Nippon Aluminium have long benefited from power produced by the huge Tucurui dam. On May 23 hundreds of protestors invaded the power plant ,following years of failures by the state electricity company, Eletronorte, to fulfil its promises on compensation and social provisions. These grave impacts have been confirmed by a recent report from the National Research Institute of Amazonia.

The battle over a provincial ban on metallic mining is far from over in Mendoza, Argentina: senators voted this week to reinstate anti-mining legislation that had been vetoed by the provincial governor in December on the grounds that it was unconstitutional (Mendoza governor, Julio Cobos, is being cited as a vice presidential hopeful for president Nestor Kirchner at the national elections in october).

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