MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Latin American update

Published by MAC on 2007-02-28


Latin American update

28th February 2007

As Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, moves to rule by decree (creeping autocracy?) mining reform becomes part of the package.

Following recent horrendous accidents at small coal mines in Colombia, the government is to launch a new "safety plan", and close down "illegal" pits.

By contrast, the authorities in Argentina's Catamarca province have promised to promote the small scale sector by awarding loans to miners .

In a curious move to placate small scale miners in the notorious Serra Palada region of Brazil, CVRD-Inco and garimpeiro organisations have brokered a new agreement. But, while the miners will get land title, it seems they will not be allowed to use it for their own activities; instead being incorporated into "industrial" scale operations.

Finally, beleaguered Meridian Gold has picked up stakes and will quit Argentina. But not without firing off a lawsuit against six community activists, accusing them of spreading confidential information to discredit the company. The case hinges on tape recordings of a private meeting held by Meridian Gold in Buenos Aires in 2003.

You can now read for yourself an account of these controversial tapes, or listen to them (in Spanish) on: www.noalamina.org

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