MAC: Mines and Communities

Mining Company Wants To Reactivate A Mining Project 20 Km From The City Of Esquel

Published by MAC on 2006-02-09

ARGENTINA: Mining Company Wants to reactivate a Mining Project 20 Km from the City of Esquel

Press release from the Assembly of Self-Organized Neighbors of Esquel

9th February 2006

The recent announcement of Patagonia Gold S.A. to renew exploration of gold mining project Huemules adds a new element to the struggle of residents of this region against mining operations.

Tomorrow, like the fourth day of every month, neighbors throughout the Province of Chubut will carry out a march saying "NO TO THE MINES", beginning at 6pm in the Plaza San Martin, to course through the streets of this city, which will celebrate it's 100th anniversary this February 25.

The residents of Esquel and other parts of the country come together to affirm that mining activity will not only seriously damage the environment but also implies the plunder of natural resources, carrying scandalously unacceptable tax and import benefits for the companies involved.

English-Argentine multinational mining company Patagonia Gold announced that they will renew exploration works in their project "Huemules," which had been suspended two years ago. This project is a gold mine located 20km west of Esquel, directly alongside the Los Alerces National Park , and within the headwaters of one of the most important rivers of the region.

There are currently 1,450 permits for mine prospecting in the Province, and of the metal mining projects, 94% of them are for gold. Mining company Patagonia Gold S.A., based in London, of which the "Bemberg-Miguens Group," isa minority owner, holds prospecting rights to over 9% of the mineable surface of Chubut, or something more than 330,000 hectares (835,000 acres) located in the Andes and foothills zones of Chubut. The territory occupied by this company is more than the 289,790 hectacres combined of the National Parks of Lago Puelo and Los Alerces of Chubut.

The residents of Esquel have carried out almost fifty marches against mining activity and plunder. They remain steadfast in their determination to oust mining company Meridian Gold, who still maintain offices and buildings in the same city - a city which is urging the Provincial Government of Mario Das Neves to cease all the company's activities throughout the Provincial territory.

Assembly of Self-Organized Neighbors of Esquel

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