MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Rio Negro Government Rejects Mining Project Utilizing Cyanide

Published by MAC on 2005-06-04

Rio Negro Government Rejects Mining Project Utilizing Cyanide

Agencia Telam

Saturday June 4, 2005

The government of the Argentine province of Rio Negro has formally rejected a gold mining project located near the Patagonian town of Ingeniero Jacobacci, due to the environmental danger presented by the use of cyanide in the mining process.

"We will not risk the health of even one person in Rio Negro just to extract more grams, kilos or tons of gold," said the Governor of Rio Negro, Miguel Saiz, in an announcement made Saturday to the provincial radio and television networks.

The governor said that he is not opposed to mining. "We are simply taking the position that we are not going to approve any mining project that involves the use of cyanide and mercury."

Last week, Canadian mining company Aquiline Resources submitted the Environmental Impact Report for the project, called Calcatreau.

News of the Rio Negro decision was recieved with jubilation in the town of Ingeniero Jacobacci, located along the railway to Bariloche, 640 kilometers east of Viedma, where mayor Gabriela Buyayisqui and the independent citizens groups have been urging the rejection of the mining project for several months.

"The governor's decision took us by suprise and we are filled with happiness, because we were worried that our children's future would be sold away for a very short lasting so-called economic development," said the mayor of the community.

Claudia Huircan, spokesperson for the citizens group opposing the gold mine project said, "hopefully the official response of our government will send a message to national authorities that it is necessary to change the national law regarding mining by foreign companies."

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