MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Latin American Update

Published by MAC on 2006-10-22


Latin American Update

22nd October 2006

The gloves are coming off against community leaders, in Ecuador and Argentina, who dare continuing to fight against foreign mining companies. The house of reputed environmental activist, Carlos Zorilla, was raided by armed police on October 17th, his family brutally questioned and drugs apparently planted inside his home. This follows a highly dubious complaint of assault, made by a citizen closely connected with the Ascendant Copper company.

At the same time, the Meridian gold mining company - subject to an overwhelming vote of rejection three years ago by public referendum - has filed a case against six residents of the Argentinian city of Esquel. They're accused of trying to "change the will" of the population. The action followed the broadcast of a recording that alletedly demonstrated representatives of the company themselves threatening to "twist the will of the people".

Following the bloody conflicts between cooperative miners and state miners earlier this month, President Morales of Bolivia is following through on his promise to "nationalise" the mines. He's ordered the takeover of several of Glencore's concessions. In early 2005, Glencore had bought out the Comsur mining company - previously owned by the disgraced (and wanted) ex-president "Goni" Lozada, and Rio Tinto.

Last week we published a press report, clearly based on a statement by the world's biggest iron ore producer, Brazil's CVRD (now also the owner of Inco, the world's second largest nickel miner), that accused Xicrim Amerindians of "invading" their own territory in a quest for compensation they say is owed them by the company.

In a more balanced story, a leading Brazilian newspaper points out that the Xicrim's struggle was backed by the country's Indian "protection" foundation, in the face of what it calls CVRD's intransigence.

Recently named as one of the "ten worst places on earth" by the Blacksmith Foundation, the Peruvian city of La Oroya in Peru features in an article from the latest "Mother Jones" magazine, describing how residents polluted by the Doe Run company have joined hands with some of their Peruvian counterparts.


ECUADOR

Urgent Action: Police Raid Home of Ecuadorian Environmentalist

Miningwatch Canada

23rd October 2006

http://www.miningwatch.ca/

According to reports from the Intag Solidarity Network and CEDHU, the Ecumenical Human Rights Commission of Ecuador, on October 17, 2006, police raided the home of environmental activist Carlos Zorrilla and that of his neighbour Roberto Castro in an unprovoked and unjustified show of force, intimidating his family and Mr. Castro. Mr. Zorrilla was not present at the time and his whereabouts are still unknown, although we understand he is alive and well.

At about 6:15 am, about 10 persons identifying themselves as policemen, some in uniform, two with black ski masks, and all armed with handguns and/or machine guns, arrived at the home of Carlos Zorrilla. Twenty minutes later, another individual, who claimed to be the prosecutor from the city of Cayambe, appeared with a search warrant. They searched both the Zorrilla home and that of Roberto Castro, who has worked on the Zorrilla farm for years and who lives nearby. As far as we can ascertain the Castro house was not included in the search warrant. Mr. Castro asked to see identification.

His request was not granted. Mr. Zorrilla's wife Sandy and son Martin were home and watched the policemen burst into the house and search. They tore apart Mr. Zorrilla's bedroom/study. According to Martin, one member of the group was particularly aggressive, pushing and shouting at Martin, Sandy, and Roberto. The apparent leader announced after an hour that there was nothing to be found, they had other places to go to, and suggested that they be on their way. At that point, the aggressive individual walked outside with a bag of marijuana he claimed to have found in the living room and a gun he said he had found in Martin's bedroom. At that point the search ended and the policemen left.

Other witnesses say that the police arrived in Santa Rosa that morning in a number of vehicles, none with police insignias, all without licence plates, and one, a red vehicle, identified as belonging to the mining company. They also state that the day before, two Ascendant Copper employees had spent most of the day in Santa Rosa. The police apparently acted on a complaint by an American, Leslie Brooke Chaplin, filed July 23 regarding an assault and robbery that had supposedly taken place during the peaceful rally against Ascendant Copper's Junín project in Quito on July 13, 2006. Eyewitnesses have reported that there was no violence at any point during the rally and that the complainant had been distributing leaflets on behalf of Ascendant Copper in the midst of the rally. We are also informed that Ms. Chaplin is or was an employee of the company, making the circumstances of the complaint and the unverifiable allegations it contains highly questionable.

Please write to the Minister of Government and Police, Antonio Andretta A., with copies to the other people listed below, expressing your concern that questionable and unverified accusations are being used to intimidate and defame a reputable and upstanding community leader, and urging that the circumstances of both the complaint and the police raid be fully and expeditiously investigated.

Contact addresses:

Lic. Antonio Andretta Arizaga
Ministro de Gobierno y Policía
Calle Benalcazar y Espejo
Quito - Ecuador
informacion@mingobierno.gov.ec
fax +593 258-0067

Dr. Claudio Muecay Arcos
Defensor del Pueblo
Av. de la Prensa N54-97 y Jorge Piedra
Quito - Ecuador
fax +593 2 330-1841
contacto@defensordelpueblo.gov.ec

Ing. Iván Rodríguez
Ministro de Energía y Minas
Juan Leon Mera y Av. Orellana, Ed. MOP
Quito - Ecuador
e-mail via www.menergia.gov.ec/secciones/extras/contacto.aspx Fax: +593 2 290-6350

Hna. Elsie Monge
Directora Ejecutiva
Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos CEDHU
Carlos Ibarra 176 y 10 de Agosto
Quito - Ecuador
Fax +593 2 258-9272
e-mail: cedhu@cedhu.org

Embajada de Canada
Av. 6 de Diciembre 2816 y Paul Rivet
Quito, Ecuador
P.O. Box 17-11-6512
Tel: +593 2 2232-114/2506-162
Fax: +593 2 2503-108
E-mail: quito@dfait-maeci.gc.ca

Gary E. Davis
President and CEO
Ascendant Copper Corporation
10920 West Alameda Avenue, Suite 201
Lakewood, CO 80226 - USA
Tel: (303) 824-0271
Fax: (303) 297-0538
www.ascendantcopper.com e-mail: info@ascendantcopper.com

Sasha Angus, Director, Enforcement Division
British Columbia Securities Commission
701 West Georgia Street
P.O. Box 10142, Pacific Centre
Vancouver, B.C. V7Y 1L2
Canada
Tel: 604-899-6500
Fax: 604-899-6506
www.bcsc.bc.ca e-mail: inquiries@bcsc.bc.ca

Mary Ellen Fieweger
Editor
Periódico Intag/Intag Newspaper
Casilla 211
Otavalo, Imbabura
Ecuador
www.intagnewspaper.org

Silvia Quilumbango
President
DECOIN (Defensa y Conservación Ecológica de Intag)
P.O. Box 144
Otavalo, Imbabura
Ecuador
Phone/Fax: +593 6 648 593
e-mail: decoin@hoy.net and intagcz@uio.satnet.net www.decoin.org


ARGENTINA

"IF YOU OPPOSE THE MINE, I WILL SUE YOU"

The mining company takes "NO TO THE MINE" to Court

Press release: Peoples Assemby of Neighbours of £squel

22nd October 2006

Esquel, Chubut:. The mining company Minera El Desquite S.A., subsidiary of the Canadian company Meridian Gold Inc. (1), has started a legal action against six neighbours of this city arguing that they disseminated information related to the mining plans about "changing the will of Esquel". The action has been submitted to a court in Buenos Aires, under of Judge Luis Schelgel.

Two of the neighbours that have been a target of the legal actions work as journalists in local radio FM Station. They had aired a recording that the neighbors themselves had denounced during a press conference. The recording is of a meeting among advisors and heads of Meridian in September 2003, at which they strategized to conspire against this community and "to twist the population's decision" that had clearly rejected the mining activities based on the hist and the pollution mining produces.

During the meeting, the advisors and Median personnel revealed their connections with various candidates who ran for Governor of Chubut Province at the elections in 2003; they also mentioned their contacts with Ministers and other representatives of the national government.

They also talked about using their employees and their families to influence local neighbourhood meetings, among other measures aimed to get what they call a "social license to operate". But the perversity of what the neighbours had denounced is reflected in one of the statements made by one of the company's heads which was literally: "in Esquel, noone should know that we will twist the people's will".

Due to all these new events, the neighbors organized a well attended Assembly this weekend where they started to discuss the strategies to reject and make public this conspiracy against the community, coming from the mining sector. Among other decisions, people ratified their commitments to the public demonstrations organized every 4th of each month and other local and national actions.

A respectful conspiracy

After the referendum of March 2003, when 81% of the population voted against the mining project, Meridian Gold issued a press release in which it promised to "respect the will of the population of Esquel".

However, a few months after the referendum, in the above mentioned meeting of September 2003, the mining company planned how they would change the popular rejection to the exploitation of a silver and gold mine. Local and US company authorities, together with the US consulting firm Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) (2) and the local Braga Menéndez y Asociados (3) where part of the meeting.

If they go against one of us, they are going against all

The persecution of half a dozen neighbors is interpreted in Esquel as an attack on the community as a whole - which rallying in the streets every 4th day of the month against the mine (4).

This way, the decision to go to court and persecute neighbours that oppose extractive projects, is made clear. And what's more, they are determined to ignore Esquel people's sovereign will against mining projects.

The demand confirms the total veracity of the decisions taken in the meeting in 2003 and clearly shows there's a conspiracy to execute the mining project regardless of the fact that it would use open pit mining and cyanide lixiviation methods that had been banned by law in the province of Chubut (5).

First legal attack against the neighbours

While tens of communities throughout the country organize non-violently against mining projects, this demand is the first time there has been a legal attack against neighbors of a mining project.

The persecution has its ideological roots in the Argentinian mining laws themselves, which puts mining interests above all community or regional interestw. Those laws prioritize fiscal, tariff and currency exchange benefits for national and foreign mining companies.

In this regard, the official mining policy, supported by provincial governments and sponsored by the mining sector, produces all types of harassment for the communities that resist and defend sustainable production and natural goods as water and soil.

ASAMBLEA DE VECINOS AUTOCONVOCADOS DE ESQUEL
sosesquel@yahoo.com.ar
www.noalamina.org

Contacts:
Matilde Lenzano +54-02945-453713
Pablo Quintana +54-02945_696341
Andres Campos +54-02945_502363/ Lino Pizzolon +54-02945_453679/ Silvia Perez +54-02945-454811
Chuni Botto +54-02945-452521

1) In the text of the legal action to the neighbors, the company declares that among its shareholders there's a group called Meridian Gold Holdings (Cayman) Ltd., which could suggest a potential headquarter in the Cayman Islands, a well known fiscal paradise and financial center for money laundering.

2 )BSR is based in San Francisco and specializes in "responsible social practice", advising companies that face or anticipate conflicts as a result of their activities. Among their clients it is possible to find American Express Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Electric Corporation, General Motors Corporation, IBM, Shell International, Sony Corporation and great mining companies Newmont Mining Corporation, Placer Dome Inc., Rio Tinto plc, among others.

3) This consulting firm advises companies, governments and people in the national and provincial political arena, and they designed the electoral campaign for the present President Nestor Kirchner.

4) It is worth remembering that the mining company remains in Esquel, with offices and a storage site. Local government has not withdrawn its "outsourcing" of the deposit, nor its commercial permits and the mining representatives produce ongoing conspiracies to enabbe it to be able to exploit the mine.

5 )The Provincial Law 5001 establishes in Article 1 that metal mining activities are banned in Chubut Province using open pit mining and cyanide leaching in mining production.


BOLIVIA

Bolivia to take over Glencore mining operations

REUTERS

23rd October 2006

LA PAZ, Bolivia – The Bolivian government is planning to return to state control several mining concessions belonging to Swiss mining company Glencore International AG, Bolivia's President Evo Morales said Monday. "Because the country is asking for it, those mines are going to be taken back," the leftist leader told reporters.

The announcement comes more than a week before Bolivian officials are expected to announce a plan aimed at revitalizing the country's dilapidated mining industry.

Bolivian government officials have said the plan, to be unveiled Oct. 31, will focus on giving the Bolivian state "unrestricted use" of mining resources.

Foreign companies with operations in South America's poorest country are closely watching moves by Morales' government after it nationalized the energy industry in May.

In February 2005, Glencore bought Compania Minera del Sur, Bolivia's largest tin smelter, previously controlled by former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada.

Glencore operates in Bolivia through its Bolivian subsidiary, Sinchi Wayra, which owns five mines of zinc, silver, tin, and lead.

A Glencore executive in Bolivia told Reuters the company was not aware of the government's decision.

"We are preparing an important decision regarding the mines of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada," said Morales.

The Bolivian government is seeking to extradite Sanchez de Lozada, who has lived in the United States since October 2003, to face charges stemming from the deaths of 67 protesters during street demonstrations that forced his ouster three years ago.

In a move that alienated multinational companies with investments in Bolivia, leftist Morales nationalized the country's energy sector in May, handing the Bolivian government greater control over energy production and a larger share of profit.


BRAZIL

Tribesmen leave iron mine belonging to CVRD

O Estado de S.Paulo

20th Ocober 2006

Yesterday an agreement between the National Indigenous Foundation (Funai) and leaders of the Xicrim villages ended a two-day blockade of the Carajás iron mine operated by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) in Parauapebas in southeastern Pará. The indigenous protesters split into groups as they left the site, but promise to continue their struggle to receive over R$ 9 million that CVRD pays them annually for mining ore in the region and for passing through an indigenous reserve with the Carajás railway.
CVRD denied agreeing to a deal unless the tribesmen left the company property. The Funai administrator in Marabá, Raulien Oliveira, who convinced the indigenous group to leave, criticized CVRD. “They’re toying with the native peoples. They fulfilled their part by freeing up the area and so far the company has not set a date to meet with them”, observed Oliveira. Now that the tribe members have left, he added, it’s up to CVRD to bring representatives to a meeting with them and Funai in Brasília.
The Xicrim occupied CVRD facilities on Tuesday afternoon, forbidding employees to leave. In addition to an increase in the amount paid, they also demanded the building of forty homes in the Cateté community and twenty home in the Djudjeko community, as well as repaving and maintenance of access roads to the two villages. The Court in Redenção gave CVRD an injunction to evict the trespassers that same evening, but the tribesmen decided to continue the blockade. Negotiations were tough. The order of the chiefs was to only leave the area after meeting with CVRD, but the director of the CVRD North System, José Carlos Soares, resisted: “There can be no negotiation while being blackmailed. The blockade left 12,000 employees stuck and the two chiefs that led the protest were adamant: “Nobody gets out of here, we’re prepared to stay another three weeks”.
Funai supports the Xicrim in their struggle for an increase in the amount paid by the company and for other improvements in their living conditions. In Funai director Almir Queiroz’ opinion, CVRD is not doing any favors to the indigenous peoples: “They should provide more compensation for all the ore they’re mining. One mustn’t forget that all this mining causes harm to the communities that live around here”.


Lead Astray

What happens when an American company offshores pollution?

by Sara Shipley Hiles and Marina Walker Guevara

Mother Jones, November/December 2006 Issue

Leslie Warden had been on a plane only once before traveling to Peru in April 2003. She didnt speak Spanish, had no college education, let alone a toxicology degree. Yet here she was, testifying in Limas stately Legislative Palace, in a hearing room filled with legislators and their staffs, representatives from government health and mining agencies, television cameras, and reporters. Shed come to talk about the Doe Run Co., one of the worlds largest lead producers, which operated a smelter in her hometown of Herculaneum, Missouri. The company now faced scrutiny over its smelter in La Oroya, a town high in the Andes Mountains where virtually every child had lead poisoning. The Peruvian Congress was considering whether to declare it a disaster zone.

Warden's voice wavered as she addressed the session, but her mere presence made the Doe Run executives in the room flip open their cell phones and begin dialing frantically. "I came here," she said, "to share some of what Herculaneum has learned and experienced over the last few years.... Our children should not continue to be the price the world pays for lead." In both Missouri and Peru, Warden and other witnesses testified, Doe Run had polluted communities while hiding behind a screen of denials and misinformation, leaving parents unaware of the risks that the dust covering their homes, yards, and streets posed to their children.

The story of these two towns and how they found each other illustrates an increasingly common pattern: A company faced with mounting public pressure and environmental costs in the United States expands its dirty operations abroad, where regulations are lax, labor costs low, and natural resources abundant--and where impoverished people become dependent on the jobs and charity of the very business that causes them harm.

Like many people in Herculaneum, a town of 2,800 along the Mississippi River 30 miles south of St. Louis, Leslie Warden and her husband, Jack, were unaware of exactly what came belching out of the 550-foot smokestack about a quarter mile from their house. High school sweethearts, theyd bought a fixer-upper in 1988. Jack worked as a union carpenter, Leslie as a bookkeeper and secretary. Many of their neighbors had jobs at the Doe Run smelter, which employs about 240 workers and produces up to 250,000 tons of lead a year. Sometimes fumes from the plant made it hard to see across the street. "My wife would wash clothes and hang them on the line, and shed have to rewash them because theyd get soot on them from the smelter," Jerry Martin, a former mayor, recalls. Occasionally, someone from the company would come around to test the tap water or offer free grass seed to fill in the bare spots in residents yards. When an acid plume drifted over from the plant and corroded the paint on cars, the company would pay for the bodywork.

In 1997, a plume damaged Leslie Wardens brand-new Mustang, and this time Doe Run refused to fix it. If the plants emissions could harm her car, she wondered, what about her 13-year-old sons lungs? Could his add be connected to pollution from the smelter? She started calling public health and environmental agencies, inquiring about the gray, sticky deposits on her deck, the trucks that rumbled through town, and the acrid air. The history of lead is a long and deadly one. Today, we know that exposure to lead causes anemia, high blood pressure, developmental delays, behavioral problems, decreased intelligence, and central nervous system damage.

Children are the most vulnerable; no amount of lead in their bloodstreams is considered safe. But the malleable silver-gray metal has always held an allure. Ancient Egyptians laced pottery glaze with lead, and some scholars believe that its use in piping water, sweetening wine, and seasoning food contributed to the fall of Rome.

The U.S. government began phasing out leaded gasoline in 1973, after research showed that lead exposure harms the nervous system. It banned the sale of residential lead-based paint in 1978. Yet because lead remains an important component in electronics, computer monitors, and car batteries--which typically contain 21 pounds of lead--worldwide consumption has grown to more than 6 million tons a year.

Even when the evidence of leads harmfulness became insurmountable, the industry insisted its products were safe if used properly, and it routinely suppressed data that proved their toxicity. Many companies, including Doe Run, have also made a practice of blaming the victims: children who put lead-painted toys in their mouths, or uneducated parents who live in decrepit houses. As David Rosner, a public health historian at Columbia University and an expert witness in a lawsuit against Doe Run, concludes, "Its really a pattern that develops. Shirking responsibility, denying the reality of the research, saying it wasnt their lead. So kids continue, to this day, to suffer."

Herculaneum had been polluted for decades, but public sentiment toward Doe Run began to sour in the early 90s, after an ugly labor dispute. The smelters emissions repeatedly violated air-pollution rules, and many children were tested with high levels of lead in their blood. Some residents joined a personal injury lawsuit against the company, in the beginning of what would become an avalanche of suits against it. After the Fish and Wildlife Service found high levels of lead in fish, mice, frogs, and birds near Herculaneum, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources issued an order in 2000 requiring Doe Run to install new pollution controls and clean up residents yards that had lead levels exceeding EPA standards. If the smelters emissions didnt come into compliance, the company would be forced to limit its production capacity by 20 percent.

It was the toughest enforcement action ever taken against Doe Run, but the Wardens remained skeptical. Their teenage son had passed the age when children are most vulnerable to lead poisoning, but their young niece and nephew had been diagnosed with high blood-lead levels. Leslie Warden continued to scour reports, attend public meetings, and consult with environmental groups.

Finally, on an August night in 2001, Jack Warden cornered Dave Mosby, a state environmental official. Warden insisted that Mosby sample the black dust piled thick along streets Doe Runs trucks used to haul lead to the smelter. The Wardens had long suspected the dust would test "hot." "It was close to midnight," Mosby recalls. "But even from the streetlight, I could tell he had a real issue, because you could see the metallic luster of the dust in the street." When Mosby got the results back several days later, he was stunned to learn that the dust was 30 percent pure lead. "We knew we had an emergency situation," he says. The state health department declared Herculaneums lead contamination "an imminent and substantial endangerment" and posted signs warning parents not to let their children play in the street.

In February 2002, state health officials released a study showing that 56 percent of the children living within a quarter mile of the smelter had high blood-lead levels. In a settlement with the state, Doe Run offered to buy 160 homes located within three-eighths of a mile of the smelter. The relocations cost the company more than $10 million, on top of the millions it spent on cleanup.

Since 1994, the St. Louis-based Doe Run has been part of the Renco Group, the private holding company of New York businessman Ira Rennert. Rennert as earned a dubious reputation over his nearly 20 years in the mining business.

His magnesium production company in Utah filed for bankruptcy in 2001, shortly after federal officials accused it of illegally disposing of hazardous waste. Another Rennert company, a steel producer in Ohio, paid millions of dollars in environmental penalties even as Rennert paid himself more than $200 million in dividends.

"He has gotten rich off junk bonds issued by metals companies he acquired, paid fines to clean up when hes had to, stopped interest payments on bonds and bought back assets at pennies on the dollar," a 2002 Forbes magazine story said of Rennert, who owns a 100,000-square-foot home in the Hamptons. "He has done it all within the law--and within plain view of investors." In 1997, with the climate in Herculaneum growing increasingly tense, Renco acquired a smelter in Peru. By 2005 the new facility was generating almost four times as much revenue as the Missouri smelter--and spewing 31 times as much lead into the air.

Four hours from LIMA, the town of La Oroya is a labyrinth of narrow streets and one-room adobe houses located in Perus central sierra. Years of acid rain have stained the surrounding limestone mountains black and burned them bare of vegetation. Some call the copper-colored Mantaro River that runs through the area the "dead river" because contamination has snuffed out its plant and animal life. Wrapped in fumes, Doe Runs smelter sits on the riverbank opposite the town of 33,000, dusting it with lead, arsenic, and cadmium. Sulfur in the air burns eyes and throats. In La Oroya Antigua, the neighborhood closest to the smelter, residents constantly wipe toxic dust off their furniture and windows.

An American company, Cerro de Pasco Copper Corp., built the smelter in 1922 and residents soon got used to covering their noses and mouths with handkerchiefs. As early as the 60s, lead poisoning was known to be a problem for smelter workers, though studies werent conducted among the general population for three more decades. The Peruvian government took over the plant in 1974 and ran it for the next 23 years.

Doe Run acquired the aging complex in 1997 for $125 million, plus another $120 million in upgrades. The facility could produce up to 152,000 tons of lead a year, plus 2.4 million pounds of silver and almost 6,000 pounds of gold. Peru had just passed its first national environmental laws, and as part of the purchase, Doe Run agreed to comply with a 10-year environmental cleanup plan. It made some improvements, such as building a disposal pit for highly toxic arsenic trioxide. According to the company, its workers blood-lead levels dropped 30 percent, and lead and arsenic emissions from the main smokestack decreased more than a quarter over the next eight years.

Yet a 2003 environmental study and government inspection records show that after Doe Run took over, the concentrations of lead, sulfur dioxide, and arsenic in La Oroyas air increased. The study suggested that the causes were a 30 percent increase in lead production and "fugitive" emissions from the plant, which specializes in processing profitable "dirty ore" loaded with contaminants.

"Doe Run had to spend millions of dollars in Herculaneum to clean up the mess they created," says Anna Cederstav, an environmental scientist with the law firm Earthjustice who has cowritten a book about La Oroya. "If they can go abroad and make a quick buck in places where they are not highly regulated, and send those profits home to pay the bills in the United States, they will absolutely do so."

Doe Run spokeswoman Barbara Shepard calls that analysis "misguided." She argues that La Oroya is better off today than it was when the Peruvian government ran the plant: Doe Run has spent more than $100 million to address environmental issues in La Oroya, and it plans to spend $100 million more in the next few years. "We are making the tough decisions alongside our community partners that will ensure sustainable development, economic growth, and improved environmental conditions," Shepard says.

Like Herculaneum, La Oroya is a company town. Doe Run employs about 4,000 workers there, and those who dont work at the smelter drive taxis and wash laundry for those who do. The company operates a soup kitchen and public showers, and gives away Barbie dolls and toy robots at Christmas. The city's schools and even the police station are painted Doe Runs corporate colors, green and white, and kids wear Doe Run sweat shirts. The company says it has spent more than $6.5 million on social programs in La Oroya and the surrounding communities.

Such corporate paternalism has a long history in Peru, observes Miguel Morales, former president of Perus National Mining Association. "Mining companies become the state, the government, the mother, the father--everything," he says. Indeed, La Oroya's mayor is a vocal supporter of Doe Run, and opposing it brings risk: The head of the Peruvian Directorate of Mining lost her job in 2005 after openly criticizing the company.

With fewer regulatory obstacles than in the United States, running a dirty smelter abroad can be far more devastating than at home. One study found that as many as 1 in every 50 people in one section of La Oroya could expect to get cancer; the EPA's acceptable risk range is 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 1,000,000. Multiple studies, including ones by Doe Run, have found that children under seven in La Oroya Antigua have blood-lead levels about three times higher than the internationally accepted standard. A 2005 study found 44 percent of children under five in the neighborhood had mental or motor deficiencies, and nearly 10 percent of children under seven had enough lead in their blood to warrant medical treatment.

"These children have been seriously damaged as a result of lead contamination," says Jorge Albinagorta, head of Perus Office of Environmental Health. "Some have difficulties walking; others dont respond well to stimulation or their growth is stunted."

In person, these statistics take heartbreaking form. When Cristian Balbin, a quiet two-year-old with soft brown hair and brown eyes, was tested at 19 months, his blood-lead level was seven times the international standard. Four months later, at an age when most children begin speaking in sentences, Cristian could only point at things and moan. "Hes a little lazy, thats why he doesnt talk," said his mother, Silvia Castillo, taking a break from washing clothes. Cristian rested listlessly in her arms, staring. She said that despite constantly sweeping her dirt floor and washing her childrens hands, she felt guilty "because I allowed him to pick up dust from the street and eat it."

In La Oroya, Doe Runs carefully crafted message muddies responsibility. A company-organized platoon of volunteer "environmental delegates" cleans the streets, goes door to door dispensing hygiene tips, and organizes public hand-washing sessions for children, who get smiley-face stickers when they complete the task. "Come on, clean. Move your brooms as if you were salsa dancing!" shouted environmental delegate Elizabeth Canales one morning as a dozen women scrubbed the streets of La Oroya Antigua with water provided by Doe Run trucks. "These are women who understand that if they dont do something for their children, they will always live in the dirt," says Dr. Roberto Ramos, a Doe Run physician.

Word about the problems in La Oroya traveled back to Missouri through Hunter Farrell, an American missionary who happened upon the town in 2001 and was moved by the sight of two young boys coughing violently in the streets. Two years later, Farrell facilitated the first meeting between residents of both towns in the basement of a Presbyterian church near Hercu-laneum. Missourians nodded as Dora Santana, a nurse from La Oroya, spoke of the "unknown plague" that had long afflicted the town. Rising to speak next was Mark Pedersen, who grew up in Herculaneum and had recently lost his daughter after a lifetime of health problems. "You can look up and down the street and name each household and the diseases they have or died from," he said. "Lo mismo," Santana replied--"The same."

Two months later, Leslie Warden flew to Peru to testify at the congressional hearing. On her way, she stopped in La Oroya to see for herself the orange river and the pink and yellow smoke pouring from the smelter. "Ill never forget those poor, pitiful bushes hung so heavy with dust," she recalls.

"They looked like dust mops." Under pressure from Doe Run--and with many in La Oroya supporting the company--the Peruvian Congress declined to declare the town a disaster. Still, the hearings galvanized the growing group of activists. Over the next few years, Farrell worked with local groups and nonprofits such as Earthjustice and Oxfam America to keep the pressure on.

In 2004, he helped win the backing of the regions newly appointed Catholic archbishop, Pedro Barreto. Barreto shrugged off denunciations from the Doe Run workers union and a death threat as he arranged the first independent study of heavy metal contamination in La Oroya.

In August 2005, scientists from St. Louis University in Missouri arrived in La Oroya lugging boxes of dust wipes, plastic baggies, syringes, and test tubes. As boys played in a dusty plaza, one team of researchers entered a small adobe home at the end of a dirt alley. They sampled water from the spigot, examined family members, and took medical histories.

Forty-nine-year-old Maximina Reymundo held her one-year-old granddaughter and complained about how her eyes burned each morning. Company officials "do give support to needy towns, and thats good," she said, "but this pollution issue, were really getting tired of it."

Other residents were less cooperative. One woman slammed her door, shouting, "No! No! I dont want to participate. This is being done so the company will be closed." On Calle Belaunde, a group of children threw fruit at a volunteer, shouting, "Go back to your country! Youre taking jobs here!" Angry protesters pelted the teams with rocks and eggs. "Look at our kids--they are not retarded!" one woman screamed.

The reaction was hardly surprising. For months, Doe Run had been threatening to close the smelter unless the government extended the 10-year cleanup deadline it had agreed to in 1997. It blamed unexpectedly high cleanup costs and the declining price of lead. "The markets turned against us very quickly after we came here," Doe Run Perus then-president, Bruce Neil, said in an interview at his office in an upscale Lima neighborhood. "We had much, much less revenue available to do the projects."

Though lead prices were depressed for several years, there was another reason for Doe Run Perus tight finances. The subsidiary had used various channels to move money from Peru to the United States, including effectively financing its own purchase by issuing an interest-free loan for $125 million to its parent company. According to a study commissioned by the Peruvian government, between 1997 and 2004 Doe Run Peru paid its corporate owner almost $100 million for salaries and commissions. Neil defended the arrangement as part of doing business, but the study concluded that Doe Run could have completed its cleanup last year if it had limited its payments to its parent company.

This past May, the Peruvian government gave Doe Run a three-year extension on its cleanup. The company now must comply with stricter environmental standards and expand its health care programs. It also has to file a report whenever it sends more than $1 million stateside. To some, these requirements dont go far enough. The countrys constitutional court recently ordered the health ministry to protect La Oroya residents from lead poisoning--though the ruling applies only to the government, not Doe Run.

Advocates have petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a similar decision. Local farmers have filed a $5 billion lawsuit against Doe Run and other mining companies for damaging the Mantaro River.

But even if Doe Run completes its mandatory cleanup plan, La Oroya will remain unsafe for many years to come. According to the companys own research, many children in the town will still have blood-lead levels well above the acceptable standard. Respiratory problems will persist, and cancer risks will remain higher than U.S. standards. Residents have few ways to rid their bodies of the high levels of heavy metals confirmed by the St. Louis University study. A day-care program paid for by Doe Run has helped lower the blood-lead levels of kids with the highest readings, but by only 15 percent. More cases of severe lead poisoning have appeared in La Oroya Antigua, with one child testing at nine times the accepted standard.

Four years after Doe Run agreed to buy out its neighbors in Herculaneum, the wooden houses surrounding the smelter there have begun to come down, the vacant lots giving the streets a gap-toothed appearance. Even after the epa cleanup order, Doe Run is having trouble complying with the federal governments air-pollution rules. Particles still fall steadily from the smelters stack and spill out of trucks rumbling through the town. According to the state, yards within three-quarters of a mile of the smelter that Doe Run paid to dig up and fill with clean soil a few years ago will likely be recontaminated within four years. The dust on some streets near the smelter contains as much as 25 percent lead.

Catherine Malugen, who lives with her husband and three young daughters in a tidy ranch-style house just beyond the buyout zone, no longer lets her two-year-old play outside. She says she had no idea about the contamination when her family arrived in 2000. She asked the company to buy her property, but it refused, asserting in a letter, "There are other sources of lead in the environment."

Leslie and Jack Warden accepted Doe Runs buyout offer of $113,000 for their home and moving expenses in 2004. They now live several miles outside town in a house looking out on the woods. Their son, now 22, has almost completed a two-year degree from a community college. He is one of more than 100 plaintiffs still waiting for their day in court against Doe Run.

Leslie Warden thinks of the children of La Oroya every day. "I was one of the lucky ones," she says. "I was able to stand up and fight and get out. I didnt have to worry about losing my job or anything like that. But there are still people over there who dont have that choice."


Peruvian to join London's band of mining tycoons

Grant Ringshaw, The Times

22nd October 2006

A SOUTH American mining tycoon is to become the latest foreign businessman to cash in on the natural-resources boom by listing his company on the London Stock Exchange.

Eduardo Hochschild, executive chairman and controlling shareholder in the Peruvian gold and silver miner Hochschild Mining, will see his personal fortune valued at $1.6 billion (£850m) by next month's London debut.

Hochschild, the world's fourth-largest producer of silver, is planning to raise $500m from the float, valuing the firm at about $2 billion. The business is 80% owned by Eduardo Hochschild. Alberto Beeck, another executive director, has a 17.6% stake.

Roberto Danino, a former prime minister of Peru and general counsel for the World Bank, is also an executive director with a 1.5% stake.

After the float, Eduardo Hochschild's stake is expected to fall to about 60%. His decision to list the company's shares on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) will be seen as another victory for London over its arch-rival New York.

The LSE and the New York Stock Exchange have been engaged in a bitter battle to attract the flotations of foreign companies.

However, New York has suffered because of the onerous requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the risk from class-action lawsuits in America.

A host of foreign mining and metal companies are planning to come to London. These include Severstal, the giant Russian steelmaker, and Chelyabinsk Zinc, Russia's largest zinc producer.

The Peruvian group is the world's fourth-largest producer of silver and has significant interests in gold mining. Last year, Hochschild produced 10.5mounces of silver and 233,000 ounces of gold. The group's profits are split evenly between production of these two precious metals.

Hochschild owns three mines in Peru. It also has two advanced projects in Peru and Argentina. A further two projects in Mexico are in their early stages. It has about 25 long-term development projects in Latin America in total.

Hochschild is a specialist in deep-vein underground mines, as opposed to many gold and silver mining rivals that operate open-cast mines. Deep-vein mines are typically more profitable, with Hochschild's margins running at about 50%.

The Peruvian mining giant is aiming to use the funds raised from the flotation to develop its existing projects. The group has set itself a target of doubling its combined gold and silver production by 2011 through organic growth.

However, Hochschild is also understood to be looking at a series of joint ventures and acquisitions worth between $150m and $250m each.

Hochschild was set up by Mauricio Hochschild, a German immigrant, in Chile in 1911 as a base-metals company.

After the second world war the group expanded into Bolivia and Peru. By the 1960s it had become one of the world's largest mining groups, similar in size to Rio Tinto. However, in 1984, the South American operations were sold to Anglo American.

In the same year, Hochschild bought Anglo's Peruvian interests, creating the foundations of the present group.

Hochschild is managed by an executive committee, led by Eduardo Hochschild. But the group is expected to appoint a chief executive after the flotation. The board also includes Sir Malcolm Field, a former chief executive of WH Smith, the high-street retailer.

Hochschild executives are due to meet potential investors this week.

The float is being handled by the investment banks JP Morgan Cazenove and Goldman Sachs.


ECUADOR

ACCIÓN URGENTE: Policía irrumpe en el domicilio de líder ambientalista

ecuatoriano, 22 de Octubre de 2006

De acuerdo a informes de la Red de Solidaridad de Intag y la Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU), un grupo de policías irrumió en el domicilio del dirigente ambientalista Carlos Zorrilla, y en el de su vecino Roberto Castro, cometiendo un injustificable acto de intimidación para con ellos y sus familias. Carlos Zorrilla no estaba presente en ese momento, y se desconoce su actual paradero. De todas formas, entendemos que Carlos está bien y a salvo.

Esta mañana, a las 6:30, cerca de 10 personas que se identificaron a sí mismas como policías, algunas con uniforme, dos con la cara cubierta, todos armados con pistolas y/o otras armas de fuego, irrumpieron en la casa de Carlos Zorrilla. Veinte minutos después, otro individuo, quien dijo ser el fiscal de Cayambe, apareció con un documento que según él sería una orden de registro. Tanto la casa de los Zorrilla como la de Roberto Castro, quien trabaja en la finca de los Zorrilla desde hace años y vive en la parte de arriba de la loma, fueron registradas. Roberto les pidió ver sus identificaciones. Su requerimiento no fue atendido. Carlos no estaba en la casa en ese momento, y su paradero es desconocido. La esposa de Carlos, Sandy y su hijo Martin estaban en la casa y contemplaron como los policías irrumpían en la casa y buscaban. Revolvieron completamente el estudio/dormitorio de Carlos. Según Martin, uno de los miembros del grupo era especialmente agresivo, y empujó y gritó a Martin, Sandy y Roberto. El que parecía ser el líder, anunció despues de una hora que no habían encontrado nada, y que tenían que ir a otros lugares, y sugirieron irse. En ese momento, el individuo agresivo salio con una bolsa de drogas, declarando haberla encontrado en la sala de estar y una pistola que según él habría estado en el dormitorio de Martin. En ese momento, concluyó la búsqueda y los policías se marcharon.

Otros testigos dicen, que la policía llegó a anta Rosa esa mañana en una serie de vehículos, ninguno de ellos policiales, sin placas de matrícula, y uno de ellos, un vehículo rojo, fue identificado como perteneciente a la compañía minera. También se pudo confirmar, que el día anterior, dos empleados de la Ascendant pasaron gran parte del día en Santa Rosa.

Por casualidad (?), ayer un juzgado de Ibarra, desestimó los cargos en contra de habitantes de las comunidades, que los acusaban de incendiar el campamento de la Ascendant Copper Corporation en Intag, el 10 de Diciembre del año pasado. De acuerdo a Silvia Quilumbango, presidenta de Defensa y Conservación Ecológica de Intag (Decoin), la compañía minera apelará esta decisión.

En este momento, es necesario comenzar una campaña de cartas. Sugerimos que escriban al presidente de Ascendant, Gary Davis, expresándole su rechazo de estas acusaciones falsas, inventadas por su empresa para intimidar a una de las personas -- Carlos Zorrilla -- que se oponen a la minería en Intag. También pueden escribir a la British Columbia Securities Exchange y a la embajada de Canadá en Ecuador. Por favor, envíen copias de su carta a Silvia Quilumbango -- Presidenta de Decoin -- y al periódico Intag (direcciones abajo) y a cualquier persona u organización de su red que pueda estar interesada. Y, como siembre, donaciones para cubrir gastos de defensa legal son muy necesarias y apreciadas.

Direcciones de contacto:

Lic. Antonio Andretta Arizaga
Ministro de Gobierno y Policía
Calle Benalcazar y Espejo
Quito - Ecuador
informacion@mingobierno.gov.ec
fax +593 258-0067

Dr. Claudio Muecay Arcos
Defensor del Pueblo
Av. de la Prensa N54-97 y Jorge Piedra
Quito - Ecuador
fax +593 2 330-1841
contacto@defensordelpueblo.gov.ec

Ing. Iván Rodríguez
Ministro de Energía y Minas
Juan Leon Mera y Av. Orellana, Ed. MOP
Quito - Ecuador
e-mail via www.menergia.gov.ec/secciones/extras/contacto.aspx
Fax: +593 2 290-6350

Hna. Elsie Monge
Directora Ejecutiva
Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos CEDHU
Carlos Ibarra 176 y 10 de Agosto
Quito - Ecuador
Fax +593 2 258-9272
e-mail: cedhu@cedhu.org

Embajada de Canada
Av. 6 de Diciembre 2816 y Paul Rivet
Quito, Ecuador
P.O. Box 17-11-6512
Tel: +593 2 2232-114/2506-162
Fax: +593 2 2503-108
E-mail: quito@dfait-maeci.gc.ca

Gary E. Davis
President and CEO
Ascendant Copper Corporation
10920 West Alameda Avenue, Suite 201
Lakewood, CO 80226 - USA
Tel: (303) 824-0271
Fax: (303) 297-0538
www.ascendantcopper.com
e-mail: info@ascendantcopper.com

Sasha Angus, Director, Enforcement Division
British Columbia Securities Commission
701 West Georgia Street
P.O. Box 10142, Pacific Centre
Vancouver, B.C. V7Y 1L2
Canada
Tel: 604-899-6500
Fax: 604-899-6506
www.bcsc.bc.ca
e-mail: inquiries@bcsc.bc.ca

Mary Ellen Fieweger
Editor
Periódico Intag/Intag Newspaper
Casilla 211
Otavalo, Imbabura
Ecuador
www.intagnewspaper.org

Silvia Quilumbango
President
DECOIN (Defensa y Conservación Ecológica de Intag)
P.O. Box 144
Otavalo, Imbabura
Ecuador
Phone/Fax: +593 6 648 593
e-mail: decoin@hoy.net and intagcz@uio.satnet.net
www.decoin.org

*Minera Ascendant Cooper continúa persecusión a pobladores de Intag*
BOLETÍN DE PRENSA
Quito, 18 de octubre de 2006
Por Hna. Elsie Monge
Directora Ejecutiva de la Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos, CEDHU
http://www.cedhu.org/html/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=360

CIUDADANA ESTADOUNIDENSE VINCULADA A LA TRANSNACIONAL MINERA ASCENDANT
COOPER CORPORATION PRESENTA FALSAS ACUSACIONES EN CONTRA DE LÍDER DE INTAG
CARLOS ZORRILLA. 11 POLICÍAS IRRUMPEN EN SU DOMICILIO.

Dentro de la campaña de persecución, amedrentamiento y agresiones, iniciada desde el año 2004 por la empresa minera canadiense Ascendant Cooper Corporation S.A. contra líderes y pobladores, opuestos desde 1995 a la actividad minera en la zona de Intag, la ciudadana estadounidense Léslie Brooke Chaplin, basada en acusaciones falsas, presentó una acción judicial; esta vez, en contra de Carlos Zorrilla, habitante de Intag e integrante de la organización ambientalista DECOIN (Defensa y Conservación de Intag).

Léslie Brooke Chaplin, quien se infiltrara en la manifestación inteña en contra de la minera, realizada el día 13 de julio de 2006 en la parte baja del Ministerio de Energía y Minas, e irresponsablemente provocara a los manifestantes repartiendo hojas volantes a favor de la minería, presentó el día 23 de agosto de 2006, diez días después de este significativo evento poblacional, una acusación en contra de Carlos Zorrilla, por supuesto robo y lesiones.

El interés por deslegitimar y causar daño a los dirigentes de la población de Intag, se refleja no sólo en la presentación de esta nueva falsa denuncia, sino en el retorcido camino que tienen que seguir unas diligencias basadas en la calumnia y la mentira: designación de un "abogado de oficio" para que teóricamente Carlos Zorrilla receptara las notificaciones de las que nunca se enteró sino hasta el día 17 de octubre de 2006, cuando a las 6:15 a.m., alrededor de 11 policías irrumpieron violentamente en su domicilio, a fin de extraer "supuestas pruebas". En efecto, ante el asombro de la esposa de Carlos Zorrila y de su hijo, uno de los policías exhibió un paquete diciendo que era marihuana. En otro momento y en el cuarto del joven, otro policía dijo haber encontrado un arma. Con todo lo cual se prevé nuevas acusaciones en base a estos objetos aparecidos repentinamente en la vivienda. Además, los 11 policías allanaron sin orden judicial, la vivienda de una familia vecina.

La manifestación del 13 de julio de 2004, fue pacífica de principio a fin, los manifestantes ni siquiera ocuparon la calle Juan León Mera, sino la plazoleta del mismo edificio del Ministerio de Energía y Minas. A lo sumo, cuando esta ciudadana, de forma inoportuna e irresponsable, se infiltró en la manifestación tratando de distribuir hojas volantes a favor de la Ascendant, las y los manifestantes se limitaron a quitarle ese material, tal como lo presenciaron varias organizaciones de Derechos Humanos, efectivos policiales y alrededor de las más de 300 personas inteñas, presentes en el evento.

Indigna el hecho de que esta ciudadana Leslie Brooke Chaplin, a más de haberse infiltrado irresponsablemente en la manifestación inteña, ahora aparezca como la acusadora de un dirigente con una transparente trayectoria de dedicación y entrega a las comunidades inteñas. Reconocido por sus méritos e incesante servicio a la comunidad. Gestor de proyectos productivos alternativos como el cultivo y procesamiento del café orgánico, que se exporta a Europa, Asia y Estados Unidos; defensor de las reservas hídricas y de la riqueza natural de los bosques nublados de la zona de Intag, impulsador de proyectos que reportan ingresos a las mujeres campesinas.

Pero indigna, aun más, el hecho de que nuestras instituciones judiciales y policiales se vean inmersas en estos retorcidos procesos en contra de pobladores inteños, constituyéndose en piezas útiles de la empresa minera Ascendant Cooper Corporation, cuyo único interés, es el de extraer minerales de la zona de Intag y procurar jugosas ganancias a como de lugar, aun a costa de la vida, libertad, bienestar y más derechos fundamentales de la población inteña y sus dirigentes.

Este juicio, al que esta vez, la Ascendant lo disfraza como de "robo y lesiones", es en el fondo una arremetida más en contra de la causa colectiva por la defensa de Intag.


ARGENTINA

*SI TE OPONES A LA MINA TE HAGO UN JUICIO*

Gacetilla de Prensa
La minera judicializa el NO A LA MINA de Esquel

Esquel, Chubut – 22/10/06. La empresa Minera El Desquite S.A., subsidiaria de la canadiense Meridian Gold Inc.[1], inició una demanda a seis vecinos de esta ciudad acusándolos de haber difundido los planes de la minera para "torcer la voluntad de Esquel", ante el juzgado correccional nacional Nº 11 de la ciudad de Buenos Aires, a cargo del Juez Luis Schelgel,

Dos de los vecinos querellados son periodistas de FM Station que difundieron la grabación denunciada por los vecinos en una conferencia de prensa. El audio corresponde a una reunión de ejecutivos y asesores de la multinacional realizada en setiembre del 2003 en la que elaboraban estrategias para conspirar contra esta comunidad y torcer la voluntad del pueblo de Esquel que rechaza rotundamente la actividad minera por el saqueo y la contaminación que provoca.

En ese cónclave dan cuenta de sus contactos con los candidatos chubutenses a gobernador de las elecciones de ese año, al igual que con varios ministros y funcionarios del gobierno nacional. También establecen utilizar a sus empleados y familiares para incidir en las juntas vecinales, entre otras medidas tendientes a lograr lo que ellos llaman "licencia social para operar". Pero la perversidad de lo denunciado por los vecinos queda demostrado cuando uno de sus ejecutivos puntualiza textualmente que "en Esquel no se deben enterar que vamos a torcer la voluntad del pueblo".

A raíz de de estos acontecimientos los vecinos de Esquel realizaron este fin de semana una concurrida asamblea donde se comenzaron a analizar estrategias para rechazar y denunciar este complot contra la comunidad por parte del sector minero. Entre las medidas se decidió continuar con las habituales marchas de los días 4 y otras acciones locales y nacionales.

Una conspiración respetuosa

En un comunicado emitido por Meridian Gold luego de conocido el resultado de la consulta popular del 23 de marzo de 2003 donde el 81% de la población rechazó su proyecto minero, la empresa afirmó "respetaremos la voluntad del pueblo de Esquel".

Sin embargo, unos meses después del plebiscito en esa reunión ejecutada en Buenos Aires en septiembre del 2003, la minera planificó de qué manera iba a revertir el rechazo popular a su proyecto de explotación de una mina de oro y plata. En ella participaron directivos locales y de Estados Unidos, junto con integrantes de su consultora norteamericana Business for Social Responsability (BSR)[2] y de la argentina Braga Menéndez y Asociados[3].

Si tocan a uno tocan a todos

La persecución a media docena de vecinos es interpretado en la ciudad como una embestida contra el conjunto de la comunidad que mensualmente realiza marchas por el NO A LA MINA[4].

De esta manera, se pone en evidencia la decisión de judicializar y perseguir con el Código Penal cualquier oposición a proyectos extractivos y, lo que es más grave, ignorar la voluntad soberana de los esquelenses que tomaron una determinación rotunda en contra de los emprendimientos mineros.

La demanda ratifica la total veracidad de las decisiones tomadas en aquella reunión del 2003 y pone de manifiesto la existencia de una conspiración para ejecutar el emprendimiento minero a pesar de que usará el método de explotación a cielo abierto y lixiviación con cianuro que está prohibido por la legislación provincial[5].

Primera embestida judicial contra vecinos

Mientras a lo largo del país suman decenas las comunidades que se levantan pacíficamente contra proyectos mineros, esta demanda es el primer caso de una arremetida judicial contra vecinos.

Esta persecución tiene sus raíces ideológicas en la misma legislación minera argentina que coloca por encima de cualquier interés comunitario o regional la preeminencia de la actividad minera junto con inconcebibles beneficios fiscales, cambiarios y arancelarios a las empresas, sean nacionales o extranjeras.

En ese sentido, la política minera oficial acompañada por los gobiernos provinciales y patrocinada por el conjunto del sector minero, genera todo tipo de hostigamientos a las comunidades que resisten en defensa de las producciones sustentables y bienes naturales como el agua y el suelo.

ASAMBLEA DE VECINOS AUTOCONVOCADOS DE ESQUEL
sosesquel@yahoo.com.ar
www.noalamina.org

Contactos, anteponer 02945 a todos los teléfonos:
Matilde Lenzano 453713
Pablo Quintana 15696341
Andres Campos 15502363
Lino Pizzolon 453679
Silvia Perez 454811
Chuni Botto 452521.

[1] En el texto de la demanda a los vecinos, la empresa manifiesta que entre sus accionistas se halla un grupo con la denominación Meridian Gold Holdings (Cayman) Ltd., lo cual refiere a su probable sede en las Islas Cayman que es un conocido paraíso fiscal y centro financiero para el lavado de dinero.

[2] Tiene sede en San Francisco y se especializa en "práctica social responsable" asesorando a empresas que enfrentan o prevén conflictos por su actividad. Entre sus clientes figuran American Express Company, The Coca-Cola Company, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Electric Corporation, General Motors Corporation, IBM, Shell International, Sony Corporation y las grandes mineras Newmont Mining Corporation, Placer Dome Inc., Rio Tinto plc, entre otras de diversos rubros.

[3] Esta consultora asesora a empresas, gobiernos y también a diversas figuras de la política nacional y provincial, siendo quienes diseñaron la campaña electoral del actual presidente Néstor Kirchner.

[4] Cabe recordar que la minera permanece en Esquel con oficinas y depósitos, el gobierno no canceló la concesión del yacimiento ni las habilitaciones comerciales y los mineros realizan permanentes maniobras y conspiraciones para poder explotarlo.

[5] La Ley Provincial 5001 establece en el Artículo 1°: Prohíbese la actividad minera metalífera en el ámbito de la Provincia del Chubut, a partir de la sanción de la presente Ley, en la modalidad a cielo abierto y la utilización de cianuro en los procesos de producción minera.


BOLIVIA

Morales estudia expropiación de minas que eran de ex presidente

23 de Octubre de 2006

La Paz, 23 oct (EFE).- El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, anunció hoy que pronto divulgará "una gran decisión" sobre las minas y fundiciones que tiene en este país la multinacional suiza Glencore Internacional, que hasta 2005 pertenecían al ex presidente Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada.

"Por recomendación del pueblo, esas minas van a ser recuperadas", explicó el gobernante en una rueda de prensa con corresponsales de prensa internacional en el Palacio Presidencial de La Paz, y lamentó que "algunas empresas privadas trasnacionales traten de salvar a Sánchez de Lozada".

Morales respondió así a una pregunta sobre cómo afectará la "nacionalización" minera que anunció para este mes a Glencore, que compró al ex presidente en 2005 por 100 millones de dólares la Compañía Minera del Sur.

Sánchez de Lozada vive en Estados Unidos desde que dimitió de su cargo, en octubre de 2003, en medio de una ola de protestas en la que murieron 60 personas, y Morales reclama a Washington que lo entregue a la justicia boliviana. EFE

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