MAC: Mines and Communities

Latin America Update

Published by MAC on 2007-02-17

Latin America update - Edición Latinoamericana

17th Feburary 2007

As part of an increasingly familiar patten for Latin America, one of the key activists opposing Monterrico Metals presence in Peru, was shot at earlier this month by unknown assailants. Another organisation supporting mining-affected communities has come under subversive pressure which, allegedly, has corporate backing. This time the target was Bolivia's renowned Center of Ecology and Andean Peoples, founded by Gilberto Pauwels.

Last week, one of the world's biggest smelters was taken over by the Bolivian government - a move which aroused the ire of its current owner, Swiss-based Glencore. The Vinto operation has a chequered history. Acquired in 1999 by the British company, Allied Deals, it was sold two years later to Comsur (whose biggest shareholders were "Goni" Lozada, the former Bolivian president, and Rio Tinto), then to Glencore in 2004. The Bolivian government maintains that the plant was initially sold at little more than a tenth of its real value and therefore no compensation will be paid for its nationalisation.

Barrick Gold is rapidly becoming the most hated mining company operating in Latin America; the regional president of Ancash, Peru, has joined local organisations in opposing the company's planned exploitation of the Condorhuain mountain.

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