MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Argentina - March Against Mining Exploration In Northwest Chubut

Published by MAC on 2006-05-15

ARGENTINA

March Against Mining Exploration in Northwest Chubut

Press Release

Communique of the Comarcal Assembly Against Plunder

(El Hoyo, May 15 2006) In the afternoon of May 14, around 600 residents of towns in northwest Chubut, Argentina, carried out a demonstration at the crossing of the river Pedregoso and National Route 40, at the outskirts of the townships of El Hoyo and Epuyén. The purpose was to act in solidarity with the residents who are struggling to not be evicted from their lands and to again affirm the overwhelming rejection of mining projects in the region, opposition which was already shown in the popular consult carried out in March 2003 where 98% of the population declared themselves against the mining project of Meridian Gold.

Participants also urged the Provincial governor of Chubut to inform the mountain communities about the exploration and mining prospecting permits and concessions which have been awarded to national and international mining companies in the municipal lands of El Maitén, El Hoyo and Epuyén, as already are arriving notices of notifications to various residents of the village of El Coihue, just as years before received residents of El Pedregoso.

Present at the march were residents of El Hoyo, El Pedregoso, El Coihue, Epuyén, Lago Puelo, Golondrinas, Cholila, El Bolsón, Mallin Ahogado, Los Repollos, Autoconvocados (Self-Organized Residents) of Esquel and Trevelin, Bariloche and Ingeniero Jacobacci, and the Mapuche community of Cayún of Lago Puelo.

At the beginning of the gathering, a meeting was carried out alongside the highway, in which residents spoke against the situation in El Pedregoso, where various residents have recently received notification of mining prospecting to be carried out by Pacific Rim Mining Corporation, a Canadian company from Vancouver, with offices in Mendoza and a concession of over 10,000 hectacres to explore for gold in Santa Cruz, in the south of Argentina, and who have obtained concessions for around 1,600 hectacres of mining exploration in a zone which stretches from the lake of Los Patos until the lake Mercedes in the Chubut region.

The affected residents, called "superficiaries" in the subtle mining terminology, gave emotional testimonies of their connections to the land where they were born, and expressed their firm decision to not permit mining exploration and prospecting because of the serious environmental consequences caused by this activity.

Finally, it was agreed to urge, through the means of a letter to the council members of each town, the request of information from the provincial Office of Hydrocarbons and Mining regarding the prospection permits awarded in the region; and the obeying of the ordininances in every locality in the region which has prohibited mining with the use of toxic substances

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