MAC: Mines and Communities

Over 1000 Persons March Against "dirty Mining" In General Alvear

Published by MAC on 2006-08-27
Source: Los Andes


Over 1000 Persons March Against "Dirty Mining" in General Alvear, Mendoza, Argentina

27th August 2006

By Daniela Larregle

Some 1000 persons marched through the streets of the city of General Alvear in the south of Mendoza, Argentina, demonstrating their opposition to the development of mining projects that could generate contamination in the region. As predicted, the people took to the streets and marched along the Alvear West avenue to the municipal building, mobilized by the possible gold and silver mining projects projected throughout a large area of the neighboring department of San Rafael.

Argentine flags and a large number of posters saying "No to Dirty Mining" were carried by children in school uniforms, teachers, vintners, businesspersons, members of religous communities, farmers, residents of Punta del Agua and other communities. Accompanied by Mayor Juan Carlos de Paolo, the large group walked through the main street of the city to the doors of the City Council to deliver a petition with over 7,000 signatures. "We hope that we can all keep fighting on the same side, because here we are all exclusively dependent upon water and agriculture," said Adolfo Nieto, president of the Chamber of Commerce with satisfaction.

"We are here to say YES to the environment and to production, and NO to this situation," said Francisca Barros, of the Methodist Church, who carried out the collection of some 300 signatures of followers of this church. Standing a few feet away were five schoolgirls with uniforms of the San Antonio school. "We should support this, because if there is damage, it hurts all of us the same," acccording to Andrea Rodrìguez, a third grader. On her part, one woman on a bicycle said frankly that she doesn`t know much about the issue, but warned, "this is something that we have to do for our children and grandchildren because they are going to suffer the consequences."

While the people demonstrated in the city center, inside the local government building, the provincial Director of Mining, Alberto Rubio was giving a class to City Council members of Alvear, San Rafael and Malargüe on the history of mining in Mendoza.

Responding to the demands of demonstrators berating the lack of City councilpersons in the streets, the President of the City Council, Carlos Rosa, said that the presence of the director of mining was an unexpected visit. And he added, "Rubio is making a presentation, but aside from the speculations regarding his visit, the Council has already taken a position on mining, and there is no risk that we are going to erase with our elbows that which we are writing with our hands." The Alvear councilpersons - according to Rosa - are still pushing the idea to declare the area of Punta del Agua a protected area as a water reserve. As he was leaving the City Council chambers, Alberto Rubio, the provincial Director of Mining, was shouted at and rebuked by the demonstrators.

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