MAC: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2006-02-15


By Javier Rodríguez Pardo, MACH - SEPA - RENACE of Argentina

15th February 2006

It was clear. We already knew it.

The COREMA approved the Environmental Impact Study with the hypocrisy of imposing the condition that destruction of the three glaciers should not be allowed. We citizens should not let ourselves be fooled. Barrick has just received the go-ahead on a project that will destroy the headwaters of rivers that not only course through to the Pacific, but also to the Atlantic ocean. Barrick itself had suggested that it would not destroy the glaciers if they received quick approval of the project. In order not to interfere with, touch, attack, "move" the glaciers, Barrick offered to extract the minerals which lie under the glaciers and surrounding areas, by underground methods (in galleries). The rest of the project will be carried out in open-pit mines, that is, will inevitably destroy the permafrost glaciers and any fields of ice which are found below the surface of the the Andes in Pascua Lama. Why are these things not spoken about?

In Esquel(Argentina) at the beginning, Meridian Gold (Cordón Esquel) had announced the exploitation of gold in Chubut in a "mixed manner"; that is, both open pit and underground mining. But the statements of their vice-president Gonzalo Tufino, when we debated this in Puerto Madryn (at the 2nd Mining Forum) were clear: only "open pit" mining would be carried out, for it is quicker and more profitable, saving at least five years work.

Thanks to COREMA, the Regional Evironmental Commission (in Atacama, Chile), we are now in the mercenary hands of mafia company Barrick Gold, with a Binational Treaty which secretly promoted their activities and the ownership of a location that only they and corrupt government functionaries are capable of verifying and controlling [with regard to] intervention in the glaciers and the soils which compromise a "factory of water" that in itself defines the mountain range of the Andes.

¡Chileans! ¡Argentinians! We have to continue to struggle harder than ever! We need to denounce President Lagos and the COREMA immediately, and urge the National Environmental Commission (COREMA is regional) to involve the participation of all the actors who are opposed to Pascua Lama. And urge a clear definition right now of President-elect Michelle Bachelet (before her inauguration on March 11), who, from what we have seen, doesn't want to inherit these political decisions.

We have to mobilize on both sides of the Andes. If we lose the struggle on the Chilean side, the Argentinian side will be a cakewalk for mining corporation Barrick Gold. The mafia school of the plunderers consists in breaking and bribing the local landowners, which they have already done, but they will spare no expenses with the higher officers of executive power, as much in Chile as in Argentina.

Power! We are just beginning this fight.
Militance and Activism. ¡NO TO THE MINES!

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