MAC/20: Mines and Communities

ARGENTINA

Published by MAC on 2007-05-08

ARGENTINA

Silver Standard and Open Pit Mining on May 7 in Argentina

By El Chuño Press, Kolla Press #6

Jujuy, Argentina,

8th May 2007

Indigenous communities of the Pueblo Kolla, in the province of Jujuy blockaded two provincial routes yesterday to prevent the entrance of provincial and national government officials, mining companies and tourists, among others, on the National Day of Mining. In the face of provincial irresponsibility regarding the many experiences of environmental contamination in the past years, indigenous Kolla communities decided to blockade the two routes leading to the Pirquitas mine, site of the celebration that was to be carried out on the Day of Mining and Death in the territories of aboriginal people.

Silver Standard Corporation through its subsidiary Sunshine Argentina, plans to invest $150 million for an open pit mining operation in Kolla territory. In Liviara, over 60 persons, among them communeros (community leaders) and teachers, blockaded the route to demonstrate to society in general this violation of the rights of indigenous people. Stones were thrown at the convoy headed by the director of the Pirquitas Mine, a Mr. Sotelo, and they had to turn around and flee to where they came. This was the consequence of the lack of respect from the company Sunshine Argentina, which for the past two months has been underestimating, deceiving and operating with disdain for the community. Today the Pueblo Kolla is in a high state of alert and mobilization.

National senator Liliana Fellner, sister of provincial governor Eduardo Fellner, after insulting our brothers and sisters in the other blockade, located in the Coranzuli-Pirquitas-Coyaguayma crossroads (where eventually the vehicles were to pass), and due to the exodus of leaders, led the oficial ceremony in Mina Pirquitas in a hardly comfortable context. The senator passed through Liviara upon her return, and cried later that the communeros had in a friendly way made her see the reality of the Kolla communities, the negative environmental legacies and more than anything, the irresponsibility of the Secretary of Environment of the province.

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