MAC: Mines and Communities

A Gold Exploration Plan Anounced By Barrick Gold, Has Caused A "rebellion" In Famatina And Chilecito

Published by MAC on 2006-06-19


A gold exploration plan anounced by Barrick Gold, has caused a "rebellion" in Famatina and Chilecito, two small towns in La Rioja provence. The governor of La Rioja, Angel Maza, was National Director of Mining back in the ´90's, when a neo-liberal framework was established in the mining sector by former president Carlos Menem.

Autonomously Organized Neighbors of Famatina: No to Big Mining, Yes to life and sustainable development of the People

La Rioja, Argentina

19th June 2006

The Movement of Autonomously Organized Citizens of Fatamina, which remains in a permanent assembly, alert and mobilization, continues to add members, from unions, environmental and non-environmental organization and common citizens, in its struggle and resistance against large-scale mining using open pit and lixiviation with cyanide, mercury and other contaminants. This procedure is prohibited in some First World countries, and this is why multinational mining companies like Barrick Gold, Minera Alumbrera, and others, with the complicity of our governors and taking advantage of loopholes in legislation in Argentina, have come to plunder the non-renewable and renewable resources of this country.

This past Thursday, June 8, the Subsecretary of Mining visited Fatamina, who ridiculously enough is in charge of the Subsecretary of Environment, and met with our group of neighbors, trying to justify the unjustifiable. Mr. Abel Nonino, along with his group of assesors, did not give responses to the people's questions, and the people were not pleased with the evasions of the technicians.

A forum is being organized for the beginning of July, with participation of national experts on the theme. This forum will be carried out in Famatina as well as Chilecito, and its goal is to inform the people of both departments and remove the myth of the supposed benefits of the scourge of transnational mining.

Open-pit mining uses millions of liters of water in the lixiviation process, drying watersheds and aquifers, and destroying glaciers, the true reserves of water.

"Responsible Mining" as expressed by Governor Maza and Mr. Nonino, does not exist in our country. This is demonstrated by the multiple "accidents" like that of June 12 rupture of the mineralduct of Bajo la Alumbrera. These "accidents" are already common in our country, in neighboring Chile and other Latin American countries who now live with the irreparable consequences of the contamination.

There is also a myth of generation of employment; but what are created are low-paying jobs of no future and high risk. Those who fill their pocketbooks are the foreigners and some politicians who are collaborators to the plunder. We invite the community to investigate and become informed and be critical of the official discourse which is trying to sell us, once again, beads and mirrors.

*Teachers Oppose Mining Operations in Famatina and Chilecito *Sunday June 18, 2006

The association of Teachers and Professors (AMP) has joined in the mobilization of residents of the departments of Famatina and Chilecito in the Province of La Rioja, Argentina, against large-scale mining operations, saying that the companies will benefit economically with 97% of profits against only 3% for the State.

Through a document approved by the Provincial Assembly of Scholar Delegates of the AMP on June 14, the teachers union voted to "join in the movement of residents of the departments of Famatina and Chilecito, who are denouncing the consequences of the exploration and operations of open-pit mining being implemented in our Province, which use cyanide and other contaminating chemicals, contaminate the soil, the water and the air and making our lands and waters unfit for agricultural production, both for internal consumption as well as export."

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