MAC: Mines and Communities

Chilean Commission Of State Defense Asked To Study Claims Against Barrick/destruction Of Glaciers

Published by MAC on 2007-01-19
Source: L.A Observ. of Environmental Conflicts


Chilean Commission of State Defense Asked to Study Claims Against Barrick

Gold for Destruction of Glaciers in the Pascua Lama Project Zone

OLCA, Chile

19th January 2007

Community organizations and councilpersons of the community of Alto del Carmen in the Huasco Valley of Chile have formally requested that the CDE, or Commission of State Defense, file charges of Environmental Damage against Minera Nevada Ltda, subsidiary of Canadian mining company Barrick Gold Corporation, for being directly responsible for the destruction of glaciers Toro 1, Toro 2 and Esperanza in the zone of the mining project Pascua Lama.

The actions that have destroyed these ecosystems took place during the exploratory stages of the mining project carried out in the zone and intensified beginning in the years previous to 2000, and have continued to this date.

According to local knowlege of the territory and records which are in the posession of the community, the existence of the environmental damage is confirmed and the mining company is directly implicated as responsible for the damages caused against Chilean national natural heritage. The actions committed by the company against glaciers Toro 1, Toro 2 and Esperanza have caused the glaciers to diminish in size between 50% and 70%. Records filed with the CDE absolutely rule out the company's argument that the shrinkage of the glaciers is due to "global warming".

The request is supported by Alto del Carmen city Councilpersons Enrique Gaytan Arcos, Arturo Aliaga Bravo and Santiago Faura Cortes, the president of the Board of Neighbors of La Pampa Nilson Olivares Godoy, the president of the Board of Neighbors of Los Tambos Sandra Ramos Nieva, the president of the Board of Neighbors of Chollay, and the President of the Board of Health of Conay, all community organizations of the area.

The records were handed over to the chief lawyer of the Environmental Division of the CDE, Ximena Silva Abrantero by Councilperson Luis Faura, representing his collegues, and community organizations were represented by Lucio Cuenca, coordinator of the Latin American Observatory Environmental Conflict (OLCA) and Roxana Borquez, expert in Renewable Resources and technical advisor to the communities.

It should be noted that although the records presented have been presented in the past to the government, this information was not taken into account when environmental impact permission was granted to the company for the operations of the Pascua Lama project.

More information:

Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts
Ave. Providencia 365, Office 41,
Telephone: +56 (2) 274-5713 225-3218

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