MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Latin America/ Caribbean update

Published by MAC on 2007-05-19


Latin America/ Caribbean update

19th May 2007

Water availability form Chile's northern mining district is sufficient for current mining activities, alongside other usages, but not for minerals expansion projects. That analysis was delivered last week by Celfin Capital, Chile's leading provider of "asset management services" (and which earlier this month linked up in a joint venture with Merrill Lynch to raise further funds in the country.) This doesn't augur well for several companies hoping to strike it rich in the region - notably Barrick Gold with its vast Pascua-Lama project which straddles the border between Chile and Argentina.

Meanwhile Barrick - the world's biggest gold miner - has confirmed that it is withdrawing completely from the Famatina project in Argentina. This coincides with yet another declaration by one of the country's communities that it will not tolerate mining in its territority.

Little wonder then, that the mining manager for the World Bank's IFC has fulminated against the relentless opposition to new ventures in Latin America - despite his employers last week publishing a report which claims the Bank is engaging effectively with its so-called "stakeholders".

Peru's Congress is investigating what one Congresswoman claims is US company Doe Run's "blackmail" over the impacts of its notorious lead smelter in La Oroya. Another story relates the plight of smallscale miners in the province of Cajamarca.

Finally, it looks as if Alcoa's attempts to mine bauxite from the pristine Cockpit Country of Jamaica will not succeed.

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